The area known as the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone is still dealing with the effects of the devastating nuclear disaster that occurred there on April 26, 1986. Now, puppies from this dangerous area are being adopted by families from the United States and Canada.
Before 2018, it was illegal to bring dogs out of the area, but they’re finally getting a chance to start their lives over in forever homes abroad thanks to the Clean Futures Fund, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness and providing international support for communities affected by industrial accidents. The organization is currently focusing on Chernobyl in particular.
The puppies first gained widespread attention via two viral videos. Check out one of those videos, posted to YouTube by the Clean Futures Fund. It helped raise $56,744 for the dogs via GoFundMe.
Many of the puppies that live in the area today are descendants of the dogs who survived the disaster more than 32 years ago. Because food and shelter are hard to come by, the dogs have a low chance of survival if they stay there. Still, despite the circumstances, the puppies are relatively healthy.
“I’m really surprised at how healthy they are — they’re very well-fed,” Jennifer Betz, a veterinarian working with CFF in Ukraine, told BuzzFeed News. “The people around here really make sure they’re well-fed and get what they need. That’s what I’m surprised [about]. They love ’em.”
The puppies are tested for radiation before they can be adopted. More than a dozen have already been placed, and more than 40 more are eligible for adoption. The organization also spays, neuters and vaccinates stray dogs living in Chernobyl.
One of the dogs rescued through the program was adopted by Christine Anderson of Cool, California. Anderson says the pup, Persik, is a very welcome addition to her family.
“She would’ve likely been either killed by predators or starved to death or frozen to death,” Anderson told CBS Sacramento.
We’re so glad that these forgotten dogs are getting a second chance!