These rescued puppies’ ancestors were rescued from Chernobyl

Give us your tired, your poor, your radioactive dogs yearning to lick a friendly face.

An effort is underway to give descendents of pooches abandoned during the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster a new home in the United States.

American blogger Lucas Hixson said he personally helped scoop up a dozen of the pups from the grounds of the Ukrainian disaster site.

“Today we take 12 puppies out of the local area. In total, we want to take out about 200 puppies for adoption by families,” Hixson told Central European News.

Photos of the puppies show they are as cute as any other sweet mutt, but Jeff Beri, founder of the dog-rescue nonprofit No Dog Left Behind, says American families need to know more before allowing them in.

“Dog rescue has no borders, but in this case, there is a potential health risk,” he said.

When the Chernobyl power plant exploded into a radioactive cloud, residents were evacuated from the area and cautioned not to bring any pets that had been outside.

The descendants of the animals left behind learned to survive in the woods around the nuclear exclusion zone, where they were often attacked by wolves.

Beri said not only do the dogs suffer from radiation poisoning from living on the contaminated dogs, it’s unclear how they would adapt to a home life.

Hixson says on his fundraising Web site, CleanFutures.org, that he decided to rescue the dogs after learning local officials had ordered them killed.

The 12 puppies, he said, are now quarantined in the Ukrainian city of Slavutych, where they are being monitored. If they’re given a clean bill of health, Hixson vowed to bring them to the US by July.

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