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Although the number of dogs and cats slaughtered in Japan is decreasing, according to the Ministry of Environment, 7,687 dogs and 30,757 cats were slaughtered in 2018 alone. (It must be noted that by slaughtered we mean euthanized for non-medical reasons)
We believe that in order to achieve our goal of zero cats and dogs slaughtered in Japan, comprehensive efforts such as taking over and transferring dogs and cats, controlling breeding, and changing the consciousness of owners are important. For our first step, we decided to aim to achieve zero dogs slaughtered in Hiroshima, which had the highest number of euthanasia in all Japan. This was so that we could create a model of zero cats and dogs slaughtered that the rest of Japan could implement and follow.
We started our project in the summer of 2012 rescuing dogs on the brink of euthanasia within the town of Jinseki-Kogen. By July 2013 we had began to rescue all dogs brought to the Hiroshima Prefecture Animal Welfare Center. At the beginning of our rescue activities in 2012, we only ran a storage site and a shelter in Jinseki-Kogen and could only transfer several dogs to our facilities each month. From July 2013, however, we were able to begin rescuing around 30 dogs twice a year (Summer and the end of year). In September of 2013 we announced our “1000-Day Plan for Zero Slaughter” where we aimed to save all dogs about to be euthanized for 1000 continuous days and since 2014, we also began rescuing dogs from the Kanagawa Animal Conservation Center.
As our project continued to gain traction, we were able to increase the capacity of our facilities, increase funding as well as increase the number of staff which meant that from April 2016 we began transferring all dogs about to be euthanized at Animal Welfare Centers all across the Hiroshima Prefecture.
While transferring the dogs to our facilities is an important first step in our activities, we do not think that it is enough for the dogs to be able to live a happy and fulfilling life. That is why we provide medical care as well as training so that they can find foster parents who can care for them until the end of their lives. We run in total of 7 adoption centers nationwide (Hiroshima, Fukuyama, Okayama, Ikoma, Shonan, Setagaya, Akiruno) to try and increase the number of rescued dogs that are adopted. At the same time, we also work on raising and training disaster relief dogs and therapy dogs as well as raising awareness through public events on various issues such as euthanasia and pet ownership.
Although we have come across and overcome many challenges over the years, we would not have been able to achieve any of our goals without the support and encouragement from our supporters. We would like to thank you all and hope that you will continue to support our activities.
As of March 2019, our shelters cover more than 70,000 square meters which includes approximately 4200 square meters of open yards and over 8000 square meters of dog runs. The kennels are large enough to allow the dog to move around freely in (excluding kennels for the sick). We are also currently working on building more shelter facilities to increase capacity planned for 2019.
Rescued dogs often have a variety of medical and behavioral problems so medical care and training is crucial for a dog to get adopted. Therefore, as of April 2019, we have more than 100 dedicated staff, including 5 veterinarians, dog trainers, outsourced cleaning staff as well as many registered volunteers. In addition, a dog training school was independently established, with nine graduates in 2017 and 2018. We would like to continue to increase our focus on strengthening the management system and developing human resources.
Because it is difficult to control the breeding of cats, we have decided to give priority to contraception and castration. We also support other organizations which have similar goals and policies to ours.
For dogs, after comprehensively examining the merits and demerits of birth control and neutering from a biological and medical perspective, shelter management considers factors such as age, sickness, personality, etc. If we determine that it should be castrated, it will be carried out. Currently, with the increase in the number of animals, we are proceeding with contraception and neutering if we deem it necessary for proper breeding management. As of March 2019, approximately 1,000 dogs, including dogs that have been adopted, have undergone sterilization.
A microchip is inserted in dogs that are rescued so that they can be tracked and identified if needed. In addition, all dogs are registered in the dog register for Jinseki-Kogen Town. Even after adoption, we will check to confirm if the foster parent has updated the registration to the local government of the new home. In the unlikely event that it is determined that a foster parent’s understanding is insufficient, or the living environment does not meet standards, adoption will be denied.
We aim to realize a society without non-medical euthanasia in Japan. To do this, it is crucial that we increase awareness and responsibility for pet owners so that more people will be willing to adopt rescued dogs. We will also work to change the structure of society by fighting for development of necessary legal systems and the reform of pet shops in order to protect stray and rescued dogs and cats.
As a part of these efforts, in February 2017, we started a public grant to support various organizations working toward the same goal of zero slaughter in other various parts of the country.
We will do everything in our power to achieve our goal in Hiroshima, then the rest of the country so we hope that our supporters continue to believe in our cause.
Non-profit organization Peace Winds Japan
Peace Wanko Japan