Thursday, March 17, 2011

Today Is "Paws For Japan" Day

World Vets International Aid For Animals continues to assess & mobilize as best they can to rescue as many animals suffering as a result of last week's earthquake as they can. You can keep track of the organization's efforts on this page, and please, if you can make a donation toward this great cause the displaced animals will be ever so thankful. Below is a portion of a recent CNN article detailing the problems with the current animal rescue efforts :

Isabella Gallaon-Aoki of Animal Garden Niigata is currently in Sendai, a coastal city badly damaged by the tsunami.

"The animals are dying by the day," she said. "It's cold here, they have no food. Dogs in Japan can be tied up, especially in rural areas, and the dogs who are tied have no chance of foraging for food or anything so I'm sure they're in a pretty desperate condition."

But Gallaon-Aoki says efforts to rescue animals in the region have so far been hindered by a severe fuel shortage and damage to roads, which has made it difficult to access coastal areas. "So far we've seen the very worst areas where there is basically nothing -- I mean everything has been completely wiped out, there's no sign of life at all, it was total destruction," she said. "What we're going to do from now on is go out to the areas where we think animals have been left and we're hoping there's a chance we can find some alive."

Animal Garden Niigata is being assisted by a volunteer veterinarian from U.S. organization World Vets. World Vets CEO Cathy King said: "It's probably going to be a few days before there's going to be a lot of serious animal rescue going on inside the main disaster zone because access is so restricted, and obviously the focus right now is on finding any people that might be there. "But one of the really big issues is that there are a lot of people -- especially foreigners -- fleeing the country and leaving their animals behind. "Shelters are getting calls from people saying 'I'm on my way to the airport, I'm leaving, I have four dogs left in my apartment and my neighbor has the key.'

"The urgent thing right now is taking care of those animals."

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