Annual event, “Be kind to animals week” is scheduled from 20 -26 September in Japan. It was one of the events that I rarely remember being involved, as all I remember is the poster which was displayed at primary school.
The event is organised by Japanese Ministry of the environment. I have checked what kind of events are organised. Apart from the main event, such as Animal protection promotional poster competition, each prefecture is responsible to organise their own events.
As a main event organised by the ministry, online symposium is scheduled on 25 Sept, which I can participate!
In this symposium, there will be some panel discussions by mainly academics with topics such as “Pets in the future”, “Relationships with pets”.
This year, there were several big news in relation to pets, for example, update in animal protection law, or just recently, the Japanese government (Ministry of the environment) and Amazon Japan announced their partnership with support to give/receipt of rescue dogs & cats. I am interested in what kind discussions it will be.
According to Wikipedia, the Be kind of animals week started in the US with the purpose of strengthening ties between animals and human in 1915. As a main event, with sponsorship with Universal Studio, the children who showed their passion of loving animals, will be awarded…a big animal loving country!
私たちが住むポートフィリップ自治区(ポートフィリップシティ）のカウンシル（市役所）から「Domestic Animal Management Plan 2022-25ー2022年から2025年ペット管理計画書」のドラフトができましたので、ご意見をお聞かせください、というメールが届きました。そういえば、さきを役所に登録した頃、2021までのペット管理計画が期限切れとなるので、次の計画書作成のために、アンケートに答えませんか、というメールがあったので、アンケートに答えていたのを思い出しました。
I received an email from Port Philip council where we live. The email asked to review the draft Domestic Animal Management Plan 2022-2025. I remembered I participated in the survey so the council could prepare a draft of the Domestic Animal Management Plan when we registered Saki at the council.
I read that approx. 1,700 residents completed the survey. The draft plan had 27 pages. The purpose of the Plan is to “provide Council with a strategic, balanced approach towards promotion of responsible pet ownership, the welfare of dogs and cats in the community and the protection of the community and the environment from nuisance dogs and cats.”
As I mentioned in my earlier blog, each state is responsible for Animal protection/management. Each local council is responsible to establish their Animal management plan based on “Domestic Animals Act 1994“
As extra information, in Port Philip area about 10,000 dogs and cats are registered and over all human population is 110,000. We have been living in this area for more than 20 years and noticing more and more dogs and cats are living in this area.
The draft plan had updates for each action list of 6 themes, such as pet owner’s responsibility, balance of dog friendly parks and other spaces, euthanasia.
One of the items which grabbed my attention was the report that the number of the captured dogs and cats is reducing compared to 5 years ago. Of all the captured dogs and cats in 2020, approx. 94% of dogs and 84% cats were returned to their owners within about 2 days. Of these captured, about 28% were put down, but this number is a big reduction (50%) compared to 5 years ago. I feel this is due to the great support of the residents. For example, I am a member of the group FB which consists of the residents in our local area. I often see the post by some residents who ask ” I have this dog, do you know whose he/she is?” After the few mins, I go back to the FB and again I often see “the owner of the dog has been found.” It is great to see a great support within the community.
According to the report, majority of the pet owners are satidified with the dog friendly parks, however, some owners are requesting to have fenced off off leash parks for large and small dogs separately. To me this is such luxury request, as I come from Japan where off leash park is very rare.
Regarding pet registration, the coucil is already actioning so that it can be done on line and reminder email or message on the mobile phone is received. This is really good idea as we also wished it will be done via on line for the convenience.
Another thing I noticed was that there are only 3 full time staff who is responsible for handling the pet management work. Last year all 2,700 pet related matters (handling complaints etc) were responded by these 3 staff! (staff:pet ratio is 1:3,000!) They are planning to develop the staff’s training so that they can handle the cases more efficiently. i don’t think the number of pets in Port Philip is going to decline, so we as pet owner should take care of our pets so that we don’t bother the staff!
In my past blogs, I’ve written about the difference between dog off lead park in Australia (Melbourne) and a “dog run” in Japan.
Last week I visited the Clubhouse, an online showcase of guest speakers discussing themed topics. Those who live in England, USA and Australia discussed the off lead park in their countries. Those who live in England and USA both said there is no such thing called an “off lead park” for dogs in their countries and usually the dog owners take their dog’s lead off any way, where there are lots of nature and less people. They also said in their countries, dog bites had been an issue, so it is possible the council hesitates to make public dog off lead parks. Australian regulation is different from each council/state and when I heard this, I thought Australia has one of the best environments for dogs.
Almost every day, I walk with our dog Saki (15 months old female border collie) to one of many off lead parks in our neighbourhood. Every dog park has the sign which shows the rules within the park as shown in the photo. The rules say: 1. Dog owners must carry a lead or chain to restrain the dog, if required. 2. Dogs must not be within 5 meters of the children’s play area or BBQ or picnic area. 3. Dog owners must maintain effective voice or hand control within view of their dog at all times. 4. Dog owners must always carry a bag to collected their dog’s droppings. 5. The person responsible for the dog/s must not allow the dog to jump on chase or attack another person, dog or animals. 6. Pet owners are reminded that all dogs and cats over 3 months of age are required by law to be registered with their council. Penalties apply, if you don’t follow these rules.
From our view, most of the dog owners follow the rules. I have seen some dog owners have been told off by the others, as they stretch the boundary of acceptable behaviour.
In general, I think the dogs who are in the off lead park, are well trained and behaved. This is one of the reason why the councils are happy to make the off lead parks/beaches and dog owners feel safe about using them. Recently there are many dog owners (like us) who live in an apartment and not everyone in Australia live in a house with a big yard. For those dog & dog owners, off lead parks/beaches are essential for the dog’s wellness.
昨日の、アニマルレスキューMiki Japan の北村さんによる投稿。「繁殖リタイア犬二匹を保護、獣医さんでの健康診断など、様々な処置の後、迷子犬保護のため３日間待機の現場へ向かう。そこでは毎日6時間待機している。帰宅するのは深夜過ぎ。しかも日本の容赦ない夏の気温と蚊の大群に襲われながらという過酷な状況の中、「でも一刻も早く保護してあげたい。」という北村さんとスタッフの方には本当に頭が上がりません。
Yesterday I came across with the post by Ms.Kitamura at Animal Rescue Miki Japan, “During the day we rescued two retired dogs who use be used as breeding mums. After many hours at the Vet for health checks, we went on the hunt trying to catch for a 3rd day, an escaped dog from a foster family. We spent 6 hours until mid night when we decided to come home.” I’m amazed at their commitment doing this in a hot environment with lots of mosquitoes. However, she commented “Our only wish is to rescue the dog safely.” I cannot thank them enough for their devotion towards the animal rescue.
I wondered how many dogs and cats are killed in Japan. Based on the data in Government Reports, in 2009 a total number of dogs &cats killed is 229,832, and it was 32,743 (5,635 dogs and 27,108 cats) in 2019.
In June this year, a law was intended to be introduced, for breeders and pet shop owners to have a breeding restrictions. This would limit the age of the dogs/cats who have puppies/kittens, how many times they are allowed to breed, size of cage etc. However, due to some resistance raised by the current pet shop owners or breeders, the law is not going to be introduced at least until 2024. Also disappointedly, the “actual number” has not been decided.
On the other hand, what about the situation in overseas? The most outstanding country is Germany where no lost nor abandoned animal is killed. This is due to the strong support by Tier Heim, a privately owned animal protection group. Approx, 500 of them are located all over the country to protect and train animals.
I kept looking for more info to find why Japan cannot achieve what Germany has. Then I found out that Kanagawa ken Prefectural Animal Welfare Centre achieved no dog/cat killings in 2013. How did they achieve this? The tips is as you can imagine to educate the citizens on how to train the pets and promote the love to the animal.
By combining law enforcement and providing the education to pet owners, I believe Japan can achieve the society where all pet dogs & cats are nurtured and cared for by families.
On 27 June, a rainy & muggy day, Mimi (my sister) welcomed a rescue dog named Eve. This is only two weeks after a near dead stray kitten joined her life.
Eve was rescued and named by a local animal rescue centre led by Anjyu Kitamura 北村杏樹, from a public park in Yamaguchi prefecture. Apparently, around 2,000 strayed dogs always reside in that park. She was pregnant when she came to Ms. Kitamura’s shelter and soon after that had two puppies. Ms. Kitamura’s team looked after her for a few months. After Mimi’s gradual recovery from her pet loss, she was now ready and interested in rescue dogs. When Mimi contacted Ms. Kitamura at the shelter, she was attracted to Eve and encouraged to take her.
Eve was brought up in the wild. Both Mimi and I viewed her when Ms.Kitamura showed her on her live Instagram. She was “popular” dog for its calm personality. Her eyes were clear, but looking sad. Usually more than two hundred of people joined the live event and all their comments wished her happy life. After giving birth, all the times the staff tried to take her for a walk, she resisted. I’ve never known any dogs who don’t enjoy walking. I was very surprised to see the difference between pet dogs and wild dogs.
After arriving at Mimi’s house, she had no interest in coming out from her carrier case. It took her 5 days to do her first wee and poo, and again no interest in walking. She never ate in front of Mimi.
Mimi is worried about Eve, and if it was the right decision to keep her? She may have been happier in the wild? However, Eve’s eyes look more gentle compared to when she arrived at Mimi’s house. It now looks like she is warming to her new environment.