Help stray dogs left behind after 1986 Chernobyl nuclear explosion in Ukraine

World News

CHORNOBYL, UKRAINE – AUGUST 19: Tagged, stray dogs lounge outside a cafeteria at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant on August 19, 2017 near Chornobyl, Ukraine. An estimated 900 stray dogs live in the exclusion zone, many of them likely the descendants of dogs left behind following the mass evacuation of residents in the aftermath of the disaster. Volunteers, including veterinarians and radiation experts from around the world, are participating in an initiative called The Dogs of CHORNOBYL, launched by the non-profit Clean Futures Fund. Participants capture the dogs, study their radiation exposure, vaccinate them against parasites and diseases including rabies, tag the dogs and release them again into the exclusion zone. Some dogs are also being outfitted with special collars equipped with radiation sensors and GPS receivers in order to map radiation levels across the zone. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Decades after the Chernobyl nuclear explosion in Ukraine the fallout is still evident.

In 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear reactor in Ukraine exploded, sending radioactive material into the sky.

Authorities evacuated everyone within 19 miles, but people were forced to leave their pets behind.

The Soviet government sent in the military to kill the dogs, but some survived.

For the past three years, the US non-profit group Clean Futures Fund has traveled to Ukraine to track down the dogs and give them medical help.

“I’m not worried about radioactivity. You turn off the lights they’re not going to glow in the dark,” lead veterinary technician Angela Elia said.

Vets vaccinate, spay or neuter the animals before releasing them back into the wild.

Young pups get adopted out to new homes through the Dogs of Chernobyl program.

Since the adoption program began last year, 40 puppies have been adopted by American and Canadian families.

Click here to learn more about the adoption program.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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