14 puppies from the site of the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant disaster arrived in New York to be adopted. They are the first dogs from the Chernobyl evacuation zone to come to the U.S. since the plant’s explosion in 1986.
For more than 30 years, the region has been mostly deserted. However, hundreds of dogs – descendants of those abandoned during the initial evacuation – still wander the exclusion site.
These pups are dependant on the remaining locals and power plant workers to feed them and care for them throughout the harsh Ukranian winters. They are malnourished, open to attacks from rabid wolves, and in need of veterinary care. Most only live about six years — not because of the radiation, but because of a lack of food and shelter.
In 2017, the non-profit organization Clean Futures Fund began raising money for the dogs. They released two viral videos, bringing awareness to the world and generating more than $56,000 in donations. For the dogs of Chernobyl, help could not come soon enough.
“Out of desperation, not desire, the nuclear power plant has hired a worker to catch and kill the dogs, because they don’t have the funds available for any other option, but the worker is refusing to do so at this point,” the Clean Futures website explains.
The organization set up makeshift veterinary clinics near the power plant and surrounding areas. The dogs are rounded up, tested for radiation with a dosimeter, vaccinated, spayed or neutered, and treated for any medical issues.
“These little puppies can’t fend for themselves,” Dr. Jennifer Betz told BuzzFeed News. “If each puppy grows up, they have the potential to create 64 dogs in its lifetime, and if you can spay one dog, you can prevent 64 unwanted dogs running around.”
Before last year, the dogs were treated and released back onto the streets. But with the help of SPCA International, Clean Futures was able to secure governmental permission to remove vaccinated and decontaminated dogs from the area.
In addition to the 14 pups already placed in adoptive homes, 40 more are now eligible to begin new lives in the United States and Canada. For these abandoned and forgotten dogs, the future finally looks bright!
H/T to BuzzFeed News
Featured Image via Facebook/Clean Futures Fund