This Is What Happened To The Dogs In The Real Life Chernobyl Disaster
Sky Atlantic and HBO's Chernobyl was widely praised for its gripping content, made all the more harrowing that it retells the story of the biggest nuclear disaster created by man.
The five-part mini-series tells the story of the residents living closest to the nuclear power plant at the time of the accident, the employees working at the time as well as the firefighters first on the scene.
And in one disturbing scene, three Soviet soldiers was seen shooting the dogs that had been abandoned in Pripyat, Ukraine who had been affected by the explosion and the devastating aftermath.
The scene really hit home with viewers on Twitter. "Watching soldiers shoot dogs in Chernobyl is blood curdling," shared one person, while another echoed: "Not ok with the dog killing scene in #Chernobyl."
While most of us would like to hope that this scene of episode four - along with many, many more details from the factual series, wasn't true, it turns out that the most of the dogs caught up IRL would have met just as an upsetting ending.
According to Business Insider, residents near to the explosion had to evacuate 36 hours after the accident and just had 50 minutes to pack up their entire lives and leave.
And heartbreakingly, none of the pets were allowed to allowed to come with them, meaning they were left behind to fend for themselves.
Upsetting, first hand accounts from people who were there at the time suggest that the pets chased after the buses escorting their owners away from the disaster.
Residents believed they would be able to come back for their animals in a few days after the scale of the accident was downplayed, but the dogs and cats were left to roam the streets near the abandoned city.
And just like in the series, soldiers were ordered to kill them to stop the spread of contamination.
Fast forward to 2019, and it's believed that hundreds of stray dogs still live inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone set up in 1986, but they rarely live past the age of six due to harsh weather and lack of food at the site, among other factors.
Estimated numbers of the dogs living there fluctuate from 300 up to 900, but there's hundreds of other animals living there too. This really hammers home the scale of the disaster over 30 years on.
Thankfully, Clean Futures Fund is doing as much to help the stray dogs as possible by spaying and neutering them as well as vaccinating to help improve their quality of life and the generations thereafter.
View this post on InstagramIf you're like us, it's difficult looking at these photos of some of the dogs in the Exclusion zone during this time of year. We're in the deep throes of winter here in Ukraine and the dogs are feeling the elements just like we do; but unlike most of us, they dogs don't have anywhere warm they can go to at night to sleep and they most often don't know where their next meal will come from. If it wasn't for the power plant workers and the tourists that visit, the dogs would likely starve to death, but the plant closes down on the weekend, and all of the tourists are not always so kind to remember to bring food. That's where we come in. We have the ability to help these magnificent creatures, but we really can't do it without your help. The off season is always struggle for us and the dogs to find help. Will you support our Dogs of Chernobyl program today? Any dollar amount helps. http://cleanfutures.org/donate Thank you with all our hearts, both human and the four legged kind, Lucas and Erik #ukraine #Chernobyl #dogsofchernobyl Thank you to Tine Lykke for the beautiful photos
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And after a change in legislation in 2018, some of the puppies can now be adopted through charities, too.
Featured Image Credit: HBO