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Chernobyl’s stray dogs can hope for a better life

A volunteer holding a puppy near the Chernobyl power plant.

A volunteer holding a puppy near the Chernobyl power plant.   | Photo Credit: SERGEI SUPINSKY

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Canines less than a year old are sent to the U.S. for adoption

The restricted zone around Chernobyl is eerily quiet. But a one-storey structure, which once served as a makeshift medical centre for workers from the plant to receive assistance after the 1986 disaster, is full of barking and whining.

Today it is a hospital for the stray dogs that remain in the 30-km exclusion zone long after its human residents were evacuated following the meltdown.

The Clean Futures Fund (CFF), the U.S. organisation that is overseeing the dog adoption project in Chernobyl, reports that the restricted zone is home to approximately 1,000 stray dogs. Some 150 live in near the power plant, another 300 in the main city and the rest at checkpoints, fire stations and villages where there are a few hundred unofficial settlers.

These dogs have to endure severe winters, snow and rain, disease and lingering radiation; and due to the wildlife recovering thanks to a lack of human influence, these stray dogs face being hunted by wolves.

CFF has partners in the U.S., who provide all the necessary things to transfer these dogs safely to their new families. The “Dogs of Chernobyl” programme offers dogs less than a year old up for adoption in the U.S. while adult dogs are given vaccinations, sterilised and sent back to the area where they were caught.

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 12:55:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/chernobyls-stray-dogs-can-hope-for-a-better-life/article24255852.ece

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