[UPDATE: TEAM NOW DEPLOYED!] CALIFORNIA (PHOTOS) –Six canine search and rescue teams in Los Angeles are responding to the devastating 8.9 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Meet the amazing teams here and find out which organizations, like World Vets, are leading relief efforts to help Japan’s injured animals and displaced pets. – Global Animal


Here at Global Animal, we believe that helping injured and displaced pets is a profound and direct way to support the people of Japan. Of course, aiding animals is in addition to, not instead of, assisting people; suggesting that it’s one or the other is obviously a false choice. Losing a pet in a disaster is a trauma that doesn’t easily heal, if at all. Hurricane Katrina is a reminder of the anguish suffered by residents who were forced to flee without their four-legged family members. And many refused, sometimes to their ultimate peril. That is the bond between people and animals.

Japan is a nation of pet guardians, with about 35 percent of the population caring for dogs and cats in their homes, as well as birds and rabbits, which are also popular pets. To honor this relationship by helping the pets in Japan is to help people. All of us who are animal lovers can relate to what it would feel like to be reunited with a pet after a disaster. Much is lost for many, yet much can be replaced. But the love shared between people and their pets is irreplaceable, particularly now, when it’s needed most. Please consider supporting the efforts of the search and rescue canine teams profiled here and/or the agencies listed below. – Global Animal

Gary Durian and Baxter  - Photos Courtesy of Search Dog Foundation

The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation is deploying six canine disaster search and rescue teams from Los Angeles County Task Force 2 to respond to the deadly 8.9 earthquake and Tsunami in Japan.  The LA Task Force is being mobilized along with Virginia’s Task Force 2 by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), which dispatches Disaster Assistance Response Team (Dart) to help coordinate rescue efforts in Japan.

Each Task Force will be composed of approximately 72 personnel, including Urban Search and Rescue canines and 75 tons of rescue equipment.

The Los Angeles Task Force Teams consist of Ron Horetski & Pearl, Bill Monahan & Hunter, Jasmine Segura & Cadillac, Linda Tacconelli & Joe Civilian, Gary Durian and Baxter and Eric Gray & Riley.  The teams are in the process of getting a health clearance for their dogs from their veterinarians, certifying that the dogs are in good health and able to be deployed.

At present the Teams are waiting to get the okay to be deployed.  Unlike other national disasters Japan is asking for immediate help.

The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation was founded in 1996 with a mission to strengthen disaster response in America and across the world by recruiting rescued dogs and partnering them with firefighters and other first responders to assist in finding humans buried alive in the wreckage of disasters.  Currently there are 74 Search Dog Foundation teams located in California, Florida, Nebraska, New York, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah.


Relief organizations and governments around the world are responding to help people, and now several groups are stepping in to assist the animals impacted by the disaster as well. There are a number of ways for people here and abroad to help the people and pets that were hurt or displaced. Sacramento pet expert and author Gina Spadafori reported today on recommendations made by her colleague, veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker.

For those interested in doing so, Becker suggests contacting the following organizations:

World Vets is an international veterinary aid organization that provides “free veterinary aid, resources and support during times of disaster all over the world”. Their non-profit efforts spans 25 countries and 6 continents, and handles both veterinary issues and human health issues caused by animal-related infectious diseases.

World Vets is already working to help victims of the earthquake and tsunami, and desperately needs donations. To learn more, click here for their website.

The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation is a non-profit, FEMA-certified agency that searches for survivors in the wreckage of catastrophic events such as the one is Japan. NDSDF has already deployed six Canine Disaster Search Teams to respond to the current crisis; each task force is made up of approximately 72 members (including both humans and Urban Search and Rescue dogs) and some 75 tons of rescue equipment. To learn more and to donate, click here for their website.


And additional organizations based in Japan:

Elizabeth Oliver of Japan’s Animal Refuge Kansai says:

From our experience of the Great Hanshin earthquake on January 17th 1995, we know that the number of homeless pets may be immense. 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 traumatized animals. We may have to build emergency shelters as well. The logistics of getting animal 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. We will use our resources and know-how to help as many animals as we can, following this terrible disaster.

Japan Cat Network has also posted an update on its web site:

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.

Japan SPCA: http://nipponspca.com/2011/03/fund/


Here are pictures of the canine disaster search teams that are on their way to Japan. Also, some photos of previous National Disaster Search Dog Foundation operations in Haiti and Hurricane Katrina. Truly A+ teams making a difference.

RELATED ARTICLE: The checklist every pet guardian needs:

Be Prepared: Emergency Plan For Your Pets





  1. I am so glad that rescue groups are in place for
    pets and their owners. When I first started to watch
    CNN, I noticed that I heard only 1 dog in the background and
    feared that pets were intended to struggle alone with
    no assistance. Now, I noticed that dogs are even comforting
    each other in a time of disaster. More and more photo’s
    of dogs are starting to surface and that makes me
    feel their is still kindness in this world.