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, police said today. The girl had been found in a filthy apartment living with relatives but also large numbers of cats and 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 learned 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 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 said.
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, the statement said.
It added that the girl had a good appetite but preferred to lap up food from a plate rather than use a spoon.
The police statement dubbed the girl “Mowgli” after a fictional character in a children’s book by the Anglo-Indian writer Rudyard Kipling.
Police plan to open a criminal investigation for abuse, it added.
In March, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev urged action on child abuse, saying 760,000 children were living in “socially hazardous conditions.”