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4 Jul, 2009 07:22

Neglected child grew up with dogs

Police in Russia's Far East have found a six-year-old who lived with the family's pets in a kennel. Doctors say she is healthy, but lags behind in her psychological development.

Learning to talk is one of the many challenges now facing six-year-old Veronika Tishchenko. She was discovered by police in her grandmother's backyard – displaying animal-like behavior.

Her house, in the town of Vyazemskiy in Russia's Far East, is home to three adults, but Veronika was raised with dogs – the same dogs which killed her younger brother two years ago.

The girl's grandmother says the child had everything she needed. The authorities decided otherwise, and took Veronika into care.

Some kids who are brought into care from villages not only fail to speak, they don't know how to walk on two limbs instead of four. They grab things not with their hands, but with their mouth.

That was the case with another young girl – five-year-old Natasha from Chita, in Eastern Siberia.

In early June, police charged Natasha’s parents with neglect after she was reared alongside pet cats and dogs. Her father also insisted his daughter was well-cared for.

Like Natasha, Veronika is now being treated at a rehabilitation centre.

Doctors say Veronika is in good health, but has the mental age of an 18 month-old baby.

When police asked to speak to her mother, they were told she'd gone into the forest several days ago to pick berries and hadn't returned.

The dogs Veronika had been raised with stayed hiding in their kennels, where the child was reportedly also forced to sleep.