New Bedford's Animal Control Officer, Manny Maciel, is on a noble mission that will take him to the other side of the globe. This week, he's leaving for the Chernobyl nuclear plant's disaster site in Ukraine to help gather, spay and vaccinate abandoned dogs.

Thirty-three years ago when Chernobyl's meltdown stunned the world, the Russian government ordered 120,000 people to immediately evacuate their homes, belongings, and pets but were never told that would be the last time they'd see either of them. Today's abandoned dogs that still live around the nuclear plant, are descendants of those original dogs of Chernobyl.

Manny appeared on The Phil Paleologos Show on Memorial Day to break the story. He'll be over there for close to three weeks. Isn't he afraid of becoming contaminated? He brushed off any concerns saying that 2,000 people still work at Chernobyl daily.

Though he's still shy about one thousand dollars for the trip, he's excited to be part of this journey that he has to personally finance. The time off he's taking is from personal time and vacation hours. He is also looking for crowdfunding through his Facebook page as well.

Part of his job will be to tranquilize the dogs using blow darts, like in the movies. The team of volunteers from will vaccinate, neuter and tag the abandoned dogs. Ukraine used to vaccinate the animals against rabies, but since relations have broken down with Russia, they only get enough rabies vaccine for human use, not animals.

When he returns, Manny has promised to come back on the air and describe his experiences. In the meantime, check out this video:

This isn't Manny's first rodeo at this kind of mission. He has been asked to help coordinate efforts after Hurrican Katrina and when floods or tornadoes ravage communities. New Bedford's Animal Control Officer was asked to assist during a past disaster in Haiti.

God speed, Manny Maciel, and have a successful and safe trip.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM 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.

More From WBSM-AM/AM 1420