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Dogs Dying in Japan’s “No-Go” Zone; Frantic Owners Unable to Help

The 20-km exclusion zone near the Fukushima nuclear power plant has been off limits to most people for more than two weeks now. Before that,...

Maria Goodavage  |  May 9th 2011


The 20-km exclusion zone near the Fukushima nuclear power plant has been off limits to most people for more than two weeks now. Before that, many living at evacuation centers (where pets are not allowed) were going back and tending to their dogs and other pets frequently, and rescue groups were doing what they could. But according to reports, the zone was cut off with little to no warning on April 22, leaving loved pets to fend for themselves and their heartbroken people unable to help.

“At evacuation centers, there are many people who were told the same way and could not even prepare for evacuation, nor could they take their pets with them to evacuate. Those people are so worried about their pets living without them, their heartache is so severe that they can’t sleep for nights; they can’t even eat [and] many of them are emaciated. Please help those of us who are worried about our animals and our pets,” Fukushima resident Meiko Yoshida said in an SOS video plea to the Japanese government.

According to Japan Animal Earthquake Rescue and Support (JEARS), there are 5,000 to 10,000 domestic animals in the exclusion zone. They’re alone, scared, and hungry. Many have already died. This video tells the tragic story.

You can let your voice be heard to try to change this heartbreaking situation. JEARS has a helpful web page that offers several options.

Even though people are banned from entering to look for pets, feed them, or rescue them, some brave souls have been trying to help. The newly released video below was taken by a small, intrepid rescue team that recently sneaked into the no-go zone, hoping to rescue a few dogs, and feed others they couldn’t take back with them.

It’s worth watching to see the current state of affairs. These are very kind people, taking risks with their own health, talking to dogs, doing what they can. One scene ends with a man telling stranded dogs: “Everyone, stay strong… We’ll come back again.”

Warning: There is a disturbing and graphic scene from about 4:00-6:00 on the video below. Avoid it if you are sensitive. The rest of the video is sad enough. (Note: The distracting text in the middle of the video does eventually go away, as does the beeping of the Geiger counter.)

Update 5/10: Great news! People are going to be able to start rescuing their pets as of today! The pressure of JEARS and all its supporters seems to have done the trick. Read more about this heartening turn of events on our new Dogster post.