There’s been money raised and rescue groups mobilized, but right now there’s a bigger hurdle than any of that for animals in Japan’s worst-affected area: Japan’s government has closed off the restricted zone, and no one can enter to help the animals anymore.
Up until April 22, rescue groups and pet owners were allowed to return periodically to give food and water to the cats, dogs and other animals left behind. These pets are not allowed in the shelters, so owners had no choice but to leave them. Groups were visiting them regularly, but now, not only can these precious pets not be with their owners, they can’t even be fed or cared for.
Here’s an old woman describing what she and other pet owners are feeling. She had to leave her nine cats behind, and is begging for our help, for anyone’s help, to make sure her babies can be saved.
If the Japanese government does not lift the no-enter restriction, these pets and animals will all likely starve to death. I can’t even think about it without tearing up.
From Animal Refuge Kansai, a group helping rescue animals in Japan:
Really a blow to all animals still remaining in the 20k zone. The Government sealed off the area officially from midnight yesterday, meaning those who break the order and return will be faced with $1,000 fine and possibly 30 days imprisonment
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP
There is a plea going around for people to write to the Japanese officials, begging them to let these animals be cared for. Animals have souls, have feelings, have done nothing wrong and deserve to be given a chance to survive this disaster.
Actual letters, not emails, are what are being asked for now, as it is easy to ignore or filter emails, but nearly impossible to ignore a huge flood of physical mail. Two petition letters are available at the link below — just print and sign them and mail them off. One is in English and one in Japanese. Please be sure to send the Japanese version as well!
It costs about 98 cents to send a letter first class USPS internationally. I checked. There are three addresses on the top of the English version of this petition — three top-ranking Japanese officials. Send to one or all, whatever you think you can afford.
Link to English version of petition letter: http://bit.ly/English_Pet
Link to Japanese version of petition letter: http://bit.ly/Japan_Pet
Let’s rally together and be heard. The animals don’t have a voice; we have to be their voice.
Please share this with your animal-loving friends. (“Like” this post, tweet it, send it in email!) The more letters they receive, the more they’ll realize they are wrong and, hopefully, we can convince them to let people in to care for and rescue these precious, loved, furry family members.
If you can’t mail a letter, please at least sign the online petition: https://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/forms/comment_ssl.html
This video was taken the day before the ban by JEARS, Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support. You can see how many animals are still in the evacuation zone.
My heart breaks for these animals and pet owners. My cats are my babies and I can’t imagine having to leave them behind, let alone knowing they are being allowed to starve.
P.S. I promise to make this blog a happy place for the most part, but this is something I think we all feel strongly about. Thanks for reading and sharing.
UPDATE 5/11, 5:00 p.m. EST: Japan’s government as agreed to let pet owners take their pets out of the restricted zone! More info on the Japan animals update here.