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Japanese Dog Park Accused of Massive Abuse

How horrible! This article comes from Asahi.com. Please be warned that this article has some very upsetting information. Widespread animal abuse suspected at dog park...

Joy  |  Dec 19th 2006


How horrible! This article comes from Asahi.com.

Please be warned that this article has some very upsetting information.

Widespread animal abuse suspected at dog park
The Asahi Shimbun

HIROSHIMA–Police started an animal-abuse investigation into the now-bankrupt operator of a dog park, where hundreds of the malnourished canines were found along with dozens of corpses.

Prefectural police said Thursday they searched the Hiroshima Dog Park and three other locations for evidence.

They also plan to question the 42-year-old head of Dog Production, which operated the park and was in charge of taking care of the dogs. Dog Production is already out of business.

The park closed in May last year due to financial difficulties.

The trouble surfaced earlier this year when about 500 dogs were found suffering from severe malnutrition at the park located in a mountain area about an hour drive from the Hiroshima city center.

The dogs included a border collie whose hair around its eyes had fallen out because of a skin disease, and a corgi that lost its sight due to malnutrition, according to sources.

Reports about the miserable conditions of the park spread over the Internet, and about 1,500 volunteers have offered to help out at the park since late September.

They found dogs stuck in doghouses that were so small they could not move around, or more than 10 canines in the same small cage.

Officials of Ark Angels, an Osaka-based organization that promotes the protection of animals, said on Oct. 7 that they had found about 40 dogs buried at the park.

In November, Toshihiko Hayashi, 59, head of Ark Angels, filed a criminal complaint against the chief of Dog Production on suspicion of violating the animal protection law.

Violators of the law who suspend meals and water from animals under their care face a maximum fine of 500,000 yen. Those who cause injuries to the animals could be sentenced to a year in prison or a 1 million yen fine.

The Hiroshima Dog Park opened April 2003, and park officials initially estimated they needed 12,000 visitors a month, or 140,000 a year, to turn a profit, according to the park founder and other sources.

The park attracted a monthly average of about 10,000 visitors for the first six months.

But attendance plunged to less than 20 people a day during the winter season.

Dog Production officials told Hiroshima city officials that employees started to quit for reasons that included unpaid wages. They said that after the park closed, only about three workers were left to take care of the 500 dogs.

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