Current Status – May 11, 2011

It is exactly 2 months today since the mega earthquake and tsunami hit the Tohoku region that damaged the nuclear power plant in Fukushima, followed by people evacuating from the 20km zone. Following the official rescue by the government that took place yesterday, I came across some articles in which stories of both happy and sad reunions of owners and their pets, as well as concerns raised  from pet lovers who are politicians, lawyers, housewives or whoever on all over the internet. Here is my Current Status in summary.

1. Translated from Sankei Newspaper on May 11. (Original link:
When Mr. and Mrs. Owada (age: 76 and 74 respectively) returned home to collect important documents such as life and fire insurance papers, their male dog Koko (age 6) and male cat Meko (3) jumped on them with joy. Koko leaned on Mr. Owada and whimpered continuously.

Just before the area was forbidden for entry on April 22, they left as much food as possible with the pets. Although it’s been 20 days since they last saw them, two of them were full of energy. Because the local government will be taking care of the pets (to remove them out of the area), the couple was not able to leave the place with them at the same time.

What startled Mr. Owada was that there was another female black dog standing next to Koko. The dog was skinny and her collar was sliding down. Many fat mites were all over inside her ears. The dog was probably unleashed when the owner evacuated the area.

As soon as Mrs. Owada opened the window to the garden, the black dog came inside the house. Sitting on the floor, she looked as if it was her home. ‘Where is your home? You must have been feeling lonely as your family is all gone…’, Mrs. Owasa said to the dog and stroked her. Mr. Owada looked grim as he said ‘It will be so wonderful if we could have normal life once again and all live together…’

Koko and Mr. Owada

The female black dog enters the house and being stroked by Mrs. Owada

One of the cats rescued yesterday

I’m trying to find information if they have been really rescued!!

2. Although evacuees are now allowed to take their pets (though separately) out of the area, many are raising concerns about the way the local government handles this rescue. Owners have been advised to ‘tie them on leash or put the in a cage and leave them in the garden’ so the officials can ‘collect’ them the next day. According to many animal welfare organizations and individuals, this is not the way to treat them for their physical and mental reasons. They should be brought out of the area TOGETHER with their owners. Many lawyers claim it’s the right of owners to defy their request. They are trying to deliver this information to the evacuees.

3. It appears that not all evacuees have been informed of the fact that the local government will be bringing their pets out of the area if the owners request so. It appears this information is not shared properly by the local government. The importance of distributing leaflets informing this to the evacuees is being stressed out. One politician in his blog said that he’ll ‘make sure every evacuee is informed that they can bring their pets out’…

4. One NPO, UKC Japan, was officially asked by the Iidate Mura village officials today to help rescue/relocate the pets and livestock from the village. This village is located between the 20 and 30km area from the nuclear power plant and will be closed for entry in the near future. The date is not yet set and many NPOs and individuals are coordinating the rescue with pet owners at the moment (next to saving pets from within the 20km..). However, some owners in this area are experiencing troubles, as some NPOs and individuals are unleashing the dogs while they are being properly cared for by their owners who visit thier homes every day to feed the animals, and now some of them are missing. UKC Japan is urging those people to stop freeing the dogs that are on leash.

5. Many livestock within the 20km and 30km area are currently being removed from and are being transported to anywhere in the country where they are accepted. For those that don’t have a place to go, they will be culled (!). Pigs will be sold cheap for meat consumption. Many NPOs and individuals are currently looking for places where the livestock can live. More update to follow…


One response to “Current Status – May 11, 2011

  1. Pam Thompson

    I m quite concerned about this so called collection of pets by the local government. Since apparently 70% of stray dogs are not just euthanased, but they are euthanased slowly and inumanely by gassing with carbon monoxide and the whole slow processed is actually watched by the operative. How sick is this? So if I owned any pets, I would be very very concerned if they end up in the hands of a Japanese government official. Sadly Japan is not known for it’s kindness to animals .

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