Saitama prefecture establishes a volunteer registration system for animal rescue in times of disaster.
From Saitama Newspaper (in Japanese) March 6th, 2013
2 years has passed since the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami devastated the Pacific coast of north-eastern Japan on Friday, March 11, 2011. Reacting to that crisis, Saitama prefecture established a volunteer registration system for animal rescue in times of disaster. This is to cooperate with efforts to take care of pets at temporary refuge centers. Volunteers will not need any special license such as those for animal handlers, but must love animals and have a passion for the work.
In off-limits areas in Fukushima many owners had to abandon their pets. Those who weren't rescued went feral. Saitama Super Arena was also a temporary refuge for people, but it was not possible to keep the pets. Many people left pets in the parking area or in the car.
This was the motivation for the creation of a volunteer system for the emergency care of pets, such as to minimize such trauma and problems.
Activities are to include; 1. Taking care of pets in refuge (supply food, water and exercise, such as taking walks) 2. Provision of clean, hygienic conditions 3. Temporary protection of pets in cases of the owners' inability to do so. 4. Advice to pet owners 5. Transport of necessary materials, such as food or medicines.
Chiba prefecture founded this kind of system in 2010. Now 142 volunteers are registered. The Sanitary Affairs Division in Chiba said that there are some areas that had damage from Tohoku earthquake. There were some people who couldn’t take care of their pets for a while. Afflicted pet owners were relieved that volunteers took care of their pets.
NPO Animal Support Mate (Urawa, Saitama), delegate Sizue Noda said that pets in refuge also suffer considerable stress. It is necessary to clarify the responsibilities and authority of volunteers. Required conditions include at least 20 years of age and no allergy to animal fur.
Reference: Saitama, Sanitary Affairs Division TEL 048 830 3612