Japanese Government To Change Companion Animal Disposal Sites To Shelters
As companion animal ownership becomes more popular in Japan, animal protection groups and local governments are pushing to transition from “disposing” of animals at euthanasia facilities to adopting them out through shelters. According to one survey, about 100,000 dogs and 210,000 cats were disposed of in fiscal 2007, while 30,000 dogs and 6,500 cats were returned to their owners or found new owners.
More recently, in urban areas the number of animals that are disposed of has halved from the 1997 estimate of 650,000 and the number of animals being adopted is increasing. Since the number of animals being brought to euthanasia centers is declining, the centers now have some leeway in retaining the animals for a longer period before disposal is necessary.
Some policies in place make it difficult to achieve zero disposal, which is the stated goal of some local health officials. For example, unless stray female cats are neutered, the facilities must keep disposing of newly born kittens. Similar complications arise with respect to puppies, as currently very few are kept at shelters.