MOSCOW – A feral five-year-old girl who is only capable of hissing and barking was rescued from a destitute home in Chita, Russia.

Only called “Natasha” in reports, police have stated that welfare officials were notified to the girls’ situation by concerned neighbors. She had been living in an unheated apartment, ostensibly with her parents and grandparents.

However, officials were still shocked at what they found. A police statement said the girl was unwashed, dressed in dirty clothes and had the “clear attributes of an animal”. “For five years, the girl was ‘brought up’ by several dogs and cats and had never been outside.”

The police said the girl had mastered “animal language only”, but seemed to understand some Russian.

Like the family’s other pets, she lapped food off the floor and ignored any cutlery. When her family left the room, she barked like a dog and jumped at the door.

Natasha has been placed in an orphanage. Officials are concerned that similar cases will begin emerging, as alcoholism and unemployment are worsening in the area. Natasha is not the first: Andrei Tolstyk, the “Russian Dog Boy”, was discovered in 2004 in a remote part of Siberia. He had been raised from three months old by the family dog, after both of his alcoholic parents abandoned him.

Most famously, Oxana Malaya, pictured above, is also known as the “Ukrainian Dog Girl”. Raised under similar circumstances, she spent her childhood between the ages of 3 and 8 in a kennel in the back yard of the family home. She was also raised by alcoholic parents. Although discovered in 1991, to this day she remains in a home for the mentally handicapped, still unable to integrate into human society.

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