So many observers were captivated by the recent image depicting a dog that had been discovered floating in a mass of watery debris nearly a month after Japan’s recent tsunami, tail wagging in delight upon reunification with its owner. The sad truth, however, is that the dog in the photo was one of so many more pets made homeless by the flooding and disruption produced by March 11’s underwater earthquake registering 8.9 on the Richter scale.
According to the founder of Japan’s Animal Rescue Kansai, it is difficult to accurately assess just how many pets need assistance. However, as a point of reference, it is worth noting that just in Fukushima Prefecture 6,000 dogs had been registered prior to the devastating event. This means that there were likely two or three times that number of dogs living in the area, as the majority of pet owners do not go to the trouble of formally registering the animals. When the tally is expanded to include the seven additional prefectures impacted by the tsunami, the true scale of the problem becomes evident.
Dedicated Assistance For Dogs In Japan
With two decades of committed service in the realm of animal welfare, Animal Rescue Kansai has stepped up its efforts to provide essential aid and insights to help animals harmed as a result of the tsunami. The organization’s founder attests to the group’s work in taking in troubled animals, whether found along the roadways or those whose owners have been rendered unable to care for them. The animals are immediately evaluated by a veterinarian, vaccinated, neutered, microchipped and de-wormed. Certain of these animals are placed for adoption, while others are boarded.
Fortunately, there are other groups heavily engaged in animal welfare initiatives, including the Japan Veterinary Medical Association, the Japan Animal Welfare Society, the SPCA, The Japan Hearing Dog Association as well as Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support. A representative of the latter group states that the dilemma is evident to all and that even a drive down the road in impacted areas quickly reveals a number of animals in need of help.
Disaster Preparation For Dogs And Their Owners
It is always a wise idea to have pets fitted with a microchip or, alternatively, to ensure that they wear a collar that states the owner’s name and contact information. Sadly, many of the rescued tsunami dogs do not have microchips, and therefore the welfare groups must resort to posting photos and descriptions of the animals, hoping to reach the right people. With a microchip, the process is greatly simplified, because it just needs to be scanned in order to reveal the owner’s identity, address, and phone number.
Pet owners should also consider creating a travel kit to keep on hand at all times. This can include bottled water, food with a long shelf life, a can opening tool, a flashlight and a bowl. The best flashlight to keep in the emergency kit is one that does not need batteries.
Keep the dog close. It is often the case that disaster warnings come with an admonition not to bring pets as part of the evacuation process. This happened with the recent tsunami, in fact. However, animal advocates urge pet owners to ignore this advice, even if authorities state that pets can be retrieved at a later time. The bottom line is that if conditions are too dangerous for humans, they are also too dangerous for pets.
Keep Vaccinations updated at all times. Dogs that are left behind during a crisis tend to experience elevated stress levels. This can, in turn, leave them susceptible to illnesses that can be prevented via vaccinations.
Plan an exit route. If a disaster may prompt a trip out of the country, consider carefully how to handle the dog. Verify all requirements for canine travel and ensure that they can be met on short notice.
Ways To Assist In Japan
Monetary donations are incredibly helpful, and this will continue to be the case for quite some time. Those wishing to be of assistance may also provide donations of pet food and bedding materials to be sent to aid organizations. Concerned individuals should also consider lobbying lawmakers across Japan about developing stronger animal disaster rescue protocols. Contact us to learn more about how you can help.