Groups who rescued and provided care for the animals are now working to reunite them with their owners.
“It was a great reunion, and he came right up to me,” the dog owner said. “As soon as I settle down, I want to live with my dog again.”
Another dog owner said, “I spent such a happy time after such a long absence and we played and played.”
Japan Animal Trust, a nonprofit organization and one of the most active and largest humane organizations in Japan, arranged the reunion. They have been keeping the dogs and cats that were victims of Fukushima.
Possibly hundreds of dogs and cats were left to their own devices when a 20-kilometer area around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was evacuated after it went into meltdown. Entry into the Evacuation Zone is prohibited to anyone without a special permit. Some official or semi-official groups have gone in and rescued some animals; others creep in illegally under cover of darkness to save others.
Some pet owners found their pets when they saw photos and descriptions of them posted on lost and found boards. They then called groups like the Animal Trust, which arranged for about 40 pet owners to be connected with their pets on Oct. 7 at their shelter.“We now have 200 dogs and cats that we rescued from the disaster region,” Michitaka Iwamura, one of the organization’s directors, told Majirox News. “We caught the animals in the disaster areas and then brought them to Osaka.”
Some people were able to return to their homes and were able to pick up their pets. However, Iwamura noted that it isn’t always the case that dogs and cats are rescued and then reunited with their original owners. Animal Trust still has 150 waiting for their owners.
The organization has a couple of volunteers in Fukushima. They take in dogs and cats from owners who couldn’t temporarily or permanently keep them and those that were rescued by small organizations or individuals from the Fukushima exclusion zone. The animals are then sent to Osaka and kept at “Happy House,” which is run by the organization, until the animal can be returned to the owners or find new owners.
“I hope one day all the pets will be reunited with their owners or at least find homes,” Iwamura said.
Link to the Japan Animal Trust Web site in English: http://www.happyhouse.or.jp/en/about/message.php