Descendants of Chernobyl Disaster – UPDATE

By Susan Rosenberg, Director of International Animal Programs

Remember the dogs of Chernobyl, from our blog post in June 2017?

We’re happy to report this update!

Happy puppies in Chernobyl after being fed!

Because of support from donors like YOU, the team was able to spay, neuter and vaccinate over 350 stray dogs and cats during the inaugural August 2017 Dogs of Chernobyl program!

Everyone knew this program would be challenging from the beginning for many reasons aside from the obvious: abandoned landscape, overgrown forests, safety hazards and environmental contamination. Some of these areas are like jungles, with mazes of buildings and overgrowth of trees and shrubs. Other areas are wide open and bordered by woods, giving the dogs free reign to run and hide.

Screening a small Chernobyl puppy for radioactive contamination before being admitted to the hospital.

You can help save the animals of Chernobyl. Click here to learn more.

As you can imagine, setting up the first animal related project at the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster has many limitations and restrictions. Acquiring the necessary permissions, funding, finding the right partners, veterinarians, volunteers and overcoming language barriers were just a few obstacles to successfully overcome. Because of the difficulties with receiving goods into Ukraine from elsewhere in the world, the team had to procure veterinary supplies and equipment locally and then figure out a way to get them into the Exclusion Zone. In Chernobyl, you simply can’t get in a vehicle and go where you need to go, but with great perseverance, they were able to figure out ways to do so.

In addition to spaying and neutering, the team found many dogs with injuries and diseases. Many puppies and dogs had mange. The dogs with mange were treated immediately with Ivermectin. The team followed up with them in November and were amazed to see they had all recovered.

Quotes from the Clean Futures team:

“While we are very proud, we also recognize how much work remains in front of us.”

“There are still over 1,000 animals to treat in the region.”

Lucas Hixon, Clean Futures Fund, feeding dogs between clinic days in Chernobyl.

In August 2018, the second clinic takes place. The goal is to have the majority of the animals sterilized by 2020 and then transition those goals into an ongoing monitoring and care program for the remaining animal population. If we raise enough funding, they would also like to hire local veterinarians to provide routine medical care and establish feeding stations as well as better shelter from the elements. Winters in Chernobyl are severely cold.

The long-term plan is to establish a rescue/rehoming program, but there is a lot of work ahead to receive special permission from the Ukrainian government to be able to remove the animals from the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

You can help save the animals of Chernobyl. Click here to learn more.