The 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster forced 120,000 people to evacuate their homes. They were only allowed to bring what they could carry, and many families had no choice but to leave behind beloved family pets. Once these pets were considered contaminated, people were prohibited from removing them from the Exclusion Zone.
Today, the Exclusion Zone still exists. Access is highly restricted, and no one lives there except wild animals and an estimated 1,000 dogs and cats (including 250 stray dogs living at the plant) who are descendants of family pets left behind during the evacuation. Over 3,000 people still work at this active power plant and try to provide shelter and food for the animals during harsh winters.
The fear of radiation from contaminated animals led the Ukrainian government to send soldiers to shoot these animals in an attempt to control their population. This inhumane policy was ineffective at curbing animal population growth.
SPCA International and Clean Futures Fund are working with the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and the Ukrainian government on a widescale spay and neuter campaign. The first clinic was held in August 2017, when over 340 animals were spayed or neutered, vaccinated, de-wormed, and given dosimeter ear tags to measure their radiation levels.
This June, our goal is to reach the remaining animals in the Exclusion Zone. We have planned a month-long campaign with Clean Futures Fund and over 100 volunteers to make this a reality. Though all of our volunteers are paying for their own costs, you can help provide veterinary supplies and vaccines.