Japan Rescuers Pull Together To Save Pets

While international relief organizations are pouring into Japan to help people after the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami, a handful of animal welfare groups are pulling together to take care of the nation’s displaced pets.

Japan is a country that loves pets so it is no surprise that rescue groups have teamed up to help the estimated thousands of cats, dogs and other animals that were injured or left homeless after the quake.

Assisting pets after a natural disaster is nothing new for Animal Refuge Kansai (ARK.) The organization which has locations in Tokyo and Osaka took in 600 animals after the Great Hanshin earthquake in 1995.

Elizabeth Oliver who chairs the group said, “Here at ARK we are preparing for what might be a huge influx of animals. We already have some facilities in place and a team of experienced staff able to deal with traumatised animals. We may have to build emergency shelters as well.”

Ms. Oliver explained that rescuing many of the animals will be more difficult than the previous earthquake.

“The logistics of getting animals from the Tohoku/Sendai area is immense since roads and other transport links have been cut and may take time to restore. Our only means to get animals down to Osaka may be by helicopter, which was one method we used after the Kobe earthquake.”

Three other rescue groups have joined together to save animals.

Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support is a collaboration of 3 No-Kill animal welfare organizations in Japan: HEART — Tokushima, Animal Friends Niigata and Japan Cat Network. The coalition quickly joined forces after the disaster struck.

Japan Cat Network posted on their website, “We are all greatly saddened and have been continually horrified by news of the devastation, following the recent earthquake here in Japan. We, the kitties at the JCN Kansai shelter, and the shelter itself, are all fine. However, we remain very concerned about the animals in the severely affected areas who may be overlooked in the midst of so much immediate need to address human concerns. We are working with two other no-kill organizations to coordinate plans for getting animals from these areas out to safety, and have already begun helping people with pets in crisis.”

Organizations outside of Japan are coming to the aid of injured and homeless pets. World Veterinary Association, a nonprofit organization that provides global veterinary care has sent a first-responder team to treat animals.

The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) is sending their own team of veterinarians on Tuesday. Their goal is to help pets whose families can’t take care of them while they are being housed in temporary emergency shelters.

Dr. Ian Dacre and Dr. Damian Woodberry from WSPA are both veterans at saving animals after natural disasters.

The vets also have a meeting with the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to save wildlife caught in the aftermath of the quake and tsunami.

WSPA is coordinating their efforts with Kanagawa Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals — another Japanese based organization.

And as with every disaster, heroes from the Search Dog Foundation are already on the ground with six Canine Disaster Search Teams locating people who are trapped in fallen buildings and other debris.

Related Stories:

Lessons From Japan

Is US Ready if 9.0 Earthquake Struck?

Act Now: Help Send Search & Rescue Dogs To Japan


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Luisa A.
Luisa A6 years ago

hoping that if they really love there animals like they say they can show it by rescuing them all! not let them die......

SANDRA R6 years ago

I hope they can save as many animals as possible. Thank you Sharon.

Sue H.
Sue H.6 years ago

I live in Japan and am willing to foster or re-home a large dog - but though I have e-mailed 4 local rescue groups including ARK, there has been no reply. Susan P.

Karilyn K.
Karilyn K6 years ago

Everyone who is helping these animals and their humans have my sincerest blessings!

Walter G.
Walter G6 years ago

Teh pets are the real heart-breakers in these catastrophes.

Carrie Anne Brown

Thanks for sharing, glad someones helping them, i understand that humans need to be helped but i'm fed up of not hearing whats happening to the pets in Japan and what i can do/donate to

Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin6 years ago

Why rescue them only to kill them? Doesn't make sense. People that survive the quake and tsunami have been sent to different parts of the country, to shelters and hospitals and have no way of getting information about their pets. So why not wait until you can re-unite missing pets with their owners before going to such extremes as killing innocent animals???

Jane R.
Jane R6 years ago

I feel so bad for all the animals. I'm glad that there are people who care enouth to help them. It's so sad because they can't help theirselves and depend on humans to care for them. I bless all the people giving their time to help them.

Lynne B.
Lynne Buckley6 years ago

I hope they save as many animals as possible.

Gianna M.
Gianna Macias6 years ago

I hope the reports of pets being gased are not true. If so, then I thank those people who are doing something for the animals.