For nearly three weeks, New Bedford's Animal Control Officer Manny Maciel has been in Chernobyl, Ukraine as a volunteer, joining others from the Clean Futures Fund rounding up, vaccinating, and spaying/neutering hundreds of strays that are descendants of the dogs of Chernobyl.

These animals are out on the streets of Priyat, the home of the infamous Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster, that need to be checked out for radiation, given medical care and the basics of food and water.

Clean Futures Fund, working with their partners SPCA International rescue stray animals that have been left behind after disasters. On Wednesday morning at 8:10 a.m., Manny and Lucas Hixson, President and Founder of the Clean Futures Fund, will join me from Chernobyl to update us on their mission, live on WBSM 1420. You can listen live by downloading the free WBSM app.

From the photos and comments on Manny's Facebook page, the days start very early and last long, with temperatures in the 90s. One of the most important jobs is catching the animals and bringing them into a clinic that has been set up in Slavutych, a small town built after the disaster to care for the workers and families that still work at the plant today.

Manny Maciel is no stranger to helping save animals. He has volunteered after natural disasters in the United States, following major floods, hurricanes and tornadoes. He also helps with programs in Massachusetts funded by federal grants.

Maciel is responsible for all the expenses of this three-week expedition and is using his personal vacation time for this undertaking.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on WBSM 1420 New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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