JAPAN – There have been lots of stories, petitions and rumors about the gassing of pets by animal shelters within 72 hours of their rescue. Global Animal has waited to publish this story until getting the facts. Read below to find out the real policy, instituted in 1995 after the Great Hanshin Earthquake in Kobe, Japan. Below is an official translated report from The Emergency Disaster Animal Relief Headquarters. – Global Animal
From The Emergency Disaster Animal Relief Headquarters in Japan:
In the aftermath of the great earthquake disaster of eastern Japan, after hearing a false rumor circulating that dogs and cats housed in animal shelters in the disaster area are being euthanized, we make the following announcement.
We understand that there is a great deal of anxiety not just about animals, but also about the inability to make contact with affected areas, and we ask that you please remain calm. Upon the occurrence of this disaster, the usual protocol for euthanizing lost dogs and cats that go unclaimed following a certain notification period has been suspended.
At the Emergency Disaster Animal Relief Headquarters, relief and management is underway such that cats and dogs affected by the disaster will not be euthanized. This is in accordance with a decision made following the Great Hanshin Earthquake that euthanasia of disaster stricken dogs and cats is not undergone, a decision which is still in effect today.
Presently, on March 17th at the Emergency Disaster Animal Relief Headquarters, base establishment and food delivery arrangements appear to be underway, but the inability to secure gasoline is making progress difficult. Fear driven purchase and stockpiling of gasoline will prevent relief supplies from reaching affected areas. We ask everyone again to please remain calm.
This concludes the announcement by the Emergency Disaster Animal Relief Headquarters.
RELATED: 11:45 am, March 18, 2011, Global Animal update on Japan 72-hour Animal Gassing Policy
Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support is pressing to get a reprieve on the 72-hour kill policy at the animal centers in the impacted areas. To be clear, this short time frame before animals are euthanized is not because of the earthquake/tsunami crisis. This has been the policy in Japan for years and animal advocates are working for change. Global Animal received this statement from Sharon Lacey of Japan Cat Network, which is part of the Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support (JEARS) coalition:
“I have heard there is a petition going around on the internet regarding displaced animals being gassed within 72 hours. I don’t know how this got started, but there is a bit more to it than that. JEARS is a staunchly no-kill organization. We WILL NOT euthanize any animal, with the rare exception of an animal that is suffering terribly and has no chance of survival. We exist to save animals, not destroy them. Any animals that come into our care will be cared for until they can be reunited with their original families, or, if that is not possible, placed in new adoptive homes – regardless of how long that takes. The 72 hour period is common practice at animal control centres throughout the country. 72 hours is a very general time frame given to surrendered cats, while dogs usually have 7 days. Sometimes less. This tragic system has been a reality for Japanese animals long before the earthquake. JEARS has absolutely no intention of sending rescued animals to animal control centres, as long as these practices continue.”