A viral video is shedding light on a heart-rending situation: The radioactive puppies and dogs of the Chernobyl, the worst nuclear disaster in history.
After the catastrophic 1986 explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in what is now northern Ukraine, many people left their pets behind as they fled surrounding areas, thinking they’d be able to return in a few days.
Instead, soldiers were dispatched to shoot animals abandoned near the nuclear reactor. But some survived.
Now, hundreds of radioactive dogs that roam the area around Chernobyl are believed to be their descendants. People are advised to not touch or feed the animals because their food and water are contaminated. In addition, the dogs’ fur has the potential to be full of radioactive particles.
American non-profit Clean Futures Fund is, with help from SPCA International, Dogs Trust, Worchester Polytechnic Institute and the University of South Carolina, working on a the three-year project to manage the stray dog population in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. The partnership raises funds to bring veterinarians to Cherynobyl to give rabies shots, spay, and neuter the more than 500 animals.
The group has a gofundme.com page for those wanting to help Save the Dogs of Chernobyl. Additionally, cards, care packages, and private donations can be sent to the men and women who care for the dogs.