Russian girl 'raised by dogs'

Posted 12:37 AM by crkota in Labels:
Russian child protection officers have taken into care a five-year-old girl who barks and laps up food like a dog, having had more contact with canines than humans.

The girl had been found in a filthy apartment living with her father and grandparents but also cats and several dogs, with whom she appeared more comfortable, police in the Eastern Siberian city of Chita said in a statement.

Never allowed outdoors, the girl had not learnt to speak but instead tried to communicate by barking.

When discovered by child protection officers, "the unwashed girl was dressed in filthy clothes" and "threw herself at people like a little dog."

In a stab at humour, the police statement dubbed the girl "Mowgli" after a fictional character who grew up among wolves in a children's book by the Anglo-Indian writer Rudyard Kipling.

The flat's owners "practically never let anyone into the apartment and themselves only went out to walk their pets, trying to avoid meeting their neighbours.

"In all these years, the girl managed to master the animal language only," the statement said, adding that the girl could understand Russian, while not speaking it.

"For about five years the girl was 'brought up' by several dogs and cats and not once went outside," the statement added.

Currently living in a care facility and receiving medical and psychiatric help, the girl continues "to jump against the door and bark" if her carers leave the room she is occupying, it said.

In a report by the Vesti television channel, the head of the care centre where the girl is now living said she was still exhibiting dog-like behaviour and preferred to lap up her food rather than using cutlery.

The television channel found that the girl's family had practically bariccaded themselves into their apartment in the wake of the attention.

"These neighbours are really unsociable," one neighbour, Nina Novikova, said of the family. "They only go out at night so as to avoid meeting anyone."

Police said they plan to open a criminal investigation for abuse.

In March, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev urged action on child abuse, saying 760,000 children were living in "socially hazardous conditions".



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