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Chernobyl Dogs and their descendants

On 26 April 1986, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Soviet Union suffered a massive explosion. Radioactive materials spewed into the environment forcing the Soviet Military to establish a 30 km exclusion zone around the plant. Over 120,000 people were evacuated from Pripyat and nearby communities in the 1000 square miles surrounding the power plant.

Left Behind

Unfortunately local residents were forced to abandon their pets and were told they’d only be gone a few days. Sadly they were unable to return and these dogs and other animals were subject to massive doses of radiation. 

After the Chernobyl evacuation

Soldiers were ordered to shoot and kill the abandoned pets; however, not all of the animals were killed. There are thousands of workers at the nuclear power plant every day and nearly 1,000 stray dogs roaming the surrounding areas. A lot of these animals are the descendants of the pets abandoned after the 1986 disaster.

GoFundMe campaign has been established to help the stray dogs living at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, as well as the 30-km exclusion zone surrounding it. 

chernobyl dogs

Photo by Firef7y | CC BY-SA 3.0Wikimedia Commons This photo was taken during 2013 Ukrainian Wikiexpedition to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone set up by Wikimedia Ukraine and funded by The Wikimedia Foundation.

The Clean Futures Fund (CFF) partnered with the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and Chernobyl Exclusion Zone Management Agency to provide medical care for the stray dogs. 

Since 2017, the CFF  treated over 850 stray cats and dogs.  In 2018 they rescued and adopted over 40 puppies. In 2019 they are continuing their efforts to help the abandoned animals. Ironically the main cause of death are the harsh Ukrainian winters. Most of the dogs do not survive beyond 4 years old. 

Our support is needed for vets, vaccines, anesthesia, cages, dog food, medical supplies and a temporary hospital to care for this abandoned population of animals. To learn more about the dogs of Chernobyl, and the wonderful work being done to care for the animals, click here.

Anyone interested in adopting one of the dogs should send an email to adoptions@cleanfutures.org. There is also an HBO docu-series called Chernobyl.


Come and stay with us in our cottage style apartments, right in the heart of Dartmoor, and create your own unique dog stories to tell!



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