Hundreds Of Dogs And Puppies Live In Chernobyl—And You Can Adopt One
In 1986, tragedy struck the Chernobyl power plant in Ukraine when the Unit 4 reactor failed, spewing nuclear waste and radiation throughout the nearby city of Pripyat. The Soviet Union evacuated 120,000 people and established what is now known as the Exclusion Zone, covering 1,000 square miles. Those forced out of their homes had to leave behind their pets. And like first responders to the disaster, these dogs and other animals were subject to radiation.
Now, over 30 years later, hundreds of stray dogs live in and around the power plant, along with scores of other animals that call Chernobyl home. Though efforts have been made to cull the canine population, the dogs of Chernobyl have proven remarkably hardy.
Now, they’re getting a chance to live in loving homes, thanks to the efforts of multiple nonprofit organizations devoted to animal welfare. In 2017, these organizations began offering the Chernobyl dogs medical attention. In May 2018, they brought the first batch of dogs to the United States to experience life outside the Exclusion Zone.
One of the most striking things about the dogs living in Chernobyl is that they’re all relatively young – most do not live to be older than four years. Although disease, malnutrition, and wolves and others predators contribute to their short lives, the main cause of death is harsh Ukrainian winters.
Four Paws, an organization devoted to helping animals in need, and the Clean Futures Fund, which supports “communities affected by industrial accidents,” have partnered to help dogs living in the Exclusion Zone. Their goal is to spay, neuter, and vaccinate the dogs – not only to stop breeding, but also to protect them from rabies and other contagious diseases they’ve been exposed to while living in the wild.
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