Gov't announces 'zero stray dogs and cats' action plan

TOKYO —

The Environment Ministry has announced its first action plan to reduce to zero the number of stray dogs and cats killed.

According to the ministry, in 2012 - the last year for which figures are available - 210,000 stray dogs and cats were rounded up by local governments all over Japan, TBS reported Wednesday. Of those, 160,000 were killed.

The action plan will mandate that microchips with the pet owner’s name and contact info be attached to all pets sold. Pet sellers will also be asked to educate new pet owners on whether they really want pets or if their desire to own one is just a passing fad, and also teach owners how to look after their pets.

Actress Miyoko Asada, who has taken part in Environment Ministry projects, told reporters she was shocked to learn that 400 stray dogs and cats are killed every day in Japan.

Japan Today

  • -4

    Travas Campbell

    Nature will find a way.

  • 10

    Ms. Alexander

    So what actions are the govt going to take for those who do abandon their pets? What about those who don't buy pets from the pet store?

  • 14

    Brainiac

    I remember when the movie "Finding Nemo" came out, there was a big rush by parents to buy goldfish for their children. Then the fad passed and people started dumping their goldfish. I don't think pet sellers will be too concerned whether buyers want pets as part of a fad; they just want to sell pets to anyone who comes into their store.

  • 3

    kiwi07

    I remember when the movie "Finding Nemo" came out, there was a big rush by parents to buy goldfish for their children. Then the fad passed and people started dumping their goldfish. I don't think pet sellers will be too concerned whether buyers want pets as part of a fad; they just want to sell pets to anyone who comes into their store.

    After Finding Nemo, there was also a fad where children flushed their fish down the toilet thinking they were setting them free:)

    The question is what about all the stray cats and dogs that already exist. The neuter and put back in the area it came from concept might be one option. This solves the problem that if you just remove a stray from an area it creates a vacuum that is filled by the young of other strays, who then become breeding adults.

  • 9

    cleo

    Again we have a misleading title. When I read it I imagined thousands of stray cats and dogs being rounded up and 'disposed of'. Thankfully, they're coming at the problem from the other end and trying to reduce the number of animals killed.

    The action plan will mandate that microchips with the pet owner’s name and contact info be attached to all pets sold.

    This is a start, and a good one; I would suggest also mandating that all pets sold be neutered; make it a crime for anyone without a breeding license (which should be very hard to obtain) to own an intact cat or dog over the age of, say, 12 months. They could sweeten the pill by reducing the cost of rabies shots/other veterinary procedures for fixed animals (or raising it for intact ones) and/or restricting access to dog runs, etc., to fixed animals.

  • 4

    tmarie

    100% Cleo. Hold folks responsible for abusing, chucking or mistreating animals. That included have puppies and kittens they are not prepared to care for.

    Some city halls will help in fixing animals - mine does.

  • 4

    KobeKid

    if the national vet association will get behind an aggressive spay/neuter campaign then it will be a success. Vets need to be more emphatic about the benefits of neutering and to lower the costs of the operation. The article mentions "strays" but what about animals relinquished by their owners at hokenjo's? This is a separate category.

    In 1990 it was 1,000,000 a year, in 2000 it was down to 500,000 and now it's at 210,000. Zero is a very realistic goal, but there has got to be more leadership for the veterinary community on spay/neuter.

  • 4

    DaDude

    All I know is I very rarely see stray dogs here in Japan compared to cats. A lot of Asian countries/Pacific Islands have wild dogs everywhere

  • 3

    Jumbotron

    Good move by Japan.

  • -2

    siniestro

    Pets are animals and not products. They probably never wanted to be pets from the begging its us humans who decided so. The chip system I think its enough for the stray pets problem. Whoever thinks that all the pets sold should be neutered before sold is crazy.

  • -2

    FightingViking

    @cleo

    anyone without a breeding license

    Well I didn't have a "breeding licence" when I paid 30 000 yen for my (female) toy-poodle's "wedding" many years ago... With my latest dog, I would have been only too happy to get him "married" and "inherit" one of his offspring, especially now that he is "gone forever", but the Police had had him fixed before I adopted him.

    In the "human world" it's the ladies who get "paid" for a "fling" - in the "doggy world" it's the "men"...

  • -4

    rickyvee

    maybe because i live in tokyo, but i've never seen a stray animal in japan. who knew it was a problem?

  • 3

    tokyoclambake

    It's a nice theory, but who will enforce and what penalties will there be for abandonment? It's like the car that's been parked in my local Geo store for the last 4.5 years - the cops wouldn't touch it, the owner of the parking lot went to the transportation ministry and after a ridiculous amount of paperwork, was given the address of the person the car is registered to, only to find out the person has moved and the car sits rotting..... Many pets are abandoned when people move - enforcement will be tough (not to mention all the folks that regularly feed the stray cats in the parks)

  • 1

    warispeace

    It is disgusting that so many dogs and cats are bought and then then thrown away, just for the authorities to round them up and kill them. The chip idea with heavy punishments for irresponsible owners is a good idea, but pet sellers and buyers should have to pay for this system, not the general tax payer.

    There should also be concern for how many feed animals are killed, simply for cost performance reasons. I visited a huge egg production factory recently and the manager there said 5,000 chickens are killed every month, from a 120,000 operation, when they become 2 years old because they produce eggs at a slower rate as they age. Some of the chicken meat becomes dog food.

  • 1

    FightingViking

    I forgot to mention that the police had him fixed because ALL police dogs are "automatically" fixed...

  • 3

    Novenachama

    The pet overpopulation is a staggering problem and even though healthy adoptable animals get euthanized more dogs and cats need to be sprayed and neutered. An animal sterilization pill, if developed could possibly make a huge dent in the overpopulation problem of stray dogs and cats. However support is necessary and potential pet owners need to be adopting pets from animals shelters and rescue groups instead of purchasing from pet stores.

  • 1

    FightingViking

    @Novenachama

    adopting pets from animals shelters

    That's where my "ex"-police-dog came from "JAWS" ("Japan Animal Welfare Society").

  • 1

    smithinjapan

    I had the same initial reaction as Cleo when I read the title. I imagined some massive effort to cull stray cats and dogs across the nation. I'm glad that's not the case, but I really wonder what the government will do if a stray animal can be tracked to its owners. It's likely that they'll announce and pass this law, then say it's up to the prefectures and/or municipalities as to how they want to act on it, and they won't.

  • 4

    GW

    Agree with Cleo the title on this is terrible, I was expecting a large scale expansion of pet gas chambers!

    Micro chipping & fixing are BOTH needed direly!! And even though I have a dog & 3 cats(all fixed!) I think Japan should make it harder than just pulling out a CCard to come home with a cat/dog, heck add rabbits, turtles even FISH to the list!

    Japans ponds are filled with tossed out turtles & lots of non native fish around, heck way back when I lived near Mizumoto Koen In Katsushika-ku I found a dead Alligator Gar in the pond that was close to a metre long!

    Far far too many people who own pets that should NOT!!

  • 2

    maxjapank

    All three of my cats were strays as kittens in Japan. And we've been overjoyed to have them as part of our family. But we immediately got them fixed as soon as the Vet said it was okay (2 females and 1 male). I grew up being taught that a responsible pet owner gets their pets fixed. So that's what I believe. I do understand that those who are part of the "breeding world" are an exception.

    I worry about microchips as one of my cats grew up only knowing freedom and also refuses to wear a collar. Are these microchips on a collar? It's pretty obvious that she is not a stray and most in our neighborhood know she's ours (she's all white). The other two grew up on leashes in our yard. Yes, my house is the popular house in the neighborhood as all the kids come to pet the cats. lol.

  • 2

    cleo

    I think Japan should make it harder than just pulling out a CCard to come home with a cat/dog, heck add rabbits, turtles even FISH to the list!

    Yes indeed. I remember when a CCard company started advertising its product as handy for making impulse buys you don't have the ready cash for, such as that cute Chihuahua pup in the pet shop window (the start of the awful Chihuahua craze, and possibly the cause of the birth and dead of thousands of unwanted Chihuahuas).

    My local pet shop has cages full of pups and kittens for sale; it's heartbreaking to see them all treated as merchandise. Last time I was in there one of the cages had a sign on saying 家族会議中 (subject to family discussion) - whether the person had asked the shop to hold the kitty while he discussed with his family, or the shop assistant was trying to prevent an impulse buy I don't know. Either way I hope the sign helped a few more prospective buyers stop and consider whether they were doing the right thing. (Our own current dog was rescued from an impulse buyer whose family refused to let him keep the dog; he got passed around from rescuer to rescuer picking up 'issues' along the way until he came to us.)

  • -1

    therougou

    210,000 stray dogs and cats were rounded up by local governments all over Japan

    They obviously aren't doing a good job rounding them up where I live. Darn things poop on my lawn just about every week.

  • 0

    SenseNotSoCommon

    Refreshing to see a problem tackled upstream at source. Bravo!

  • 4

    GW

    maxjapank

    microchips are inserted UNDER the skin so no need to worry about losing a collar!

    All my cats have collars that easily come off as they run around the yard into the bush etc & you don't want them hung up on something & then cant find them!


    Also people PLEASE put your pets name & your tel# on a tag on their collars!! Makes it easy to reunite pets & owners! We once picked up an old dog that was staggering around an intersection with cars weaving around the poor bugger, got him into our car had a collar, but NO name or tel# , took us a week to find the owners who lived nearby, so close yet so far

  • 0

    cleo

    Darn things poop on my lawn just about every week.

    The culprits aren't necessarily stray dogs. Far too many owners still think it's OK not to pick up after their animals.

  • 0

    FightingViking

    @GW

    put your pets name & your tel# on a tag on their collars!!

    That's exactly how we got the dog (before the "Police dog") back ! He had been "battered" by one of our neighbours and sometimes didn't realize where he was... I was frantically searching for him when I received a 'phone call saying a family had found him ! I went immediately to bring him home. It was a "tearful" reunion - for me anyway !

  • -2

    therougou

    The culprits aren't necessarily stray dogs. Far too many owners still think it's OK not to pick up after their animals.

    No, they are cats I think. Its my backyard which is boxed in so only stray cats would get in there. But yeh, there is also often poop on the sidewalk where people walk their dogs. I'd like to scoop it up and throw it at them if I catch them.

  • 0

    Brian Wheway

    In the UK you have to have your dog micro chipped so if it goes missing and they find it they know who's dog it is! Iam not sure about the cats if they have to be chipped, but it is a very rear sift to see a stray dog, the benefit of not having stray dog every where is there is hardly any dog mess to step in, our laws are that you have to pick up your dog mess and dispose of it. lets face it there is nothing worse than stepping in a pile of dog or cat mess on a hot sunny day, may be they ought to introduce a law making you pick up your dog mess?

  • 4

    CrazyJoe

    Do you and your pet a favor by having him or her spayed or neutered at about six months of age. You will enjoy the loving companionship of a healthier pet and be doing your part to stop the tragedy of pet overpopulation.

  • -3

    Tom Webb

    I guess we'll see more dead pets accidently "run over" and killed by the owners.

  • 0

    Qamar

    What blame do the pets have?? I say, it is the humans'/ex-owners' fault :(! How awful it is. I never knew Japan had a stray animal problem before a friend told me about it, and I was shocked, because Buddhism is very concerned with animals, or so I feel..not to mention, there's reincarnation too. Not that people should need the concept of reincarnation to take care of animals..but whatever.

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