brown dog with its leg over a cat

Photo Credit: Michael Pettigrew/ShutterShock

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March 17, 2011

Currently no estimate can accurately calculate how many domestic animals were lost in the 9.0 earthquake that shook Japan on March 11, 2011 and the resulting tsunami wave that flooded the eastern coast of the country.

According to the website WhatJapanThinks.com, nearly 35 percent of the Japanese population own pets, 46 percent of those pet owners have dogs and 31 percent have cats.

Photos and film clips show survivors amongst the ruins of their homes and other buildings clinging onto their pet dogs and carrying them to safety as they would family members.

It is clear that the Japanese, like every pet owner, love their pets.

Elizabeth Oliver, chair of Animal Refuge Kansai in Tokyo and Osaka, explains:

"The logistics of getting animal from the Tohoku/Sendai area is immense since roads and other transport links have been cut and may take time to restore. Our only means to get animals down to Osaka may be by helicopter, which was one method we used after the Kobe earthquake."

In addition Oliver says that refuge officials expect many animals will be under stress or injured and the organization expects it may need to build extra emergency centers to help them.

World Vets, a nonprofit organization that provides global veterinary aid, is collecting veterinary supplies and medicines through the group's website, including de-worming medicines, vaccinations, fluid replacements, wound treatments, cages and cash donations, according to MNN. Donations will assist the valuable first-responder teams World Vets will establish to treat injured and lost pets.

On Tuesday, a disaster assessment and response team from the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) arrived in Japan to help the pets that have yet been unable to join their families in the disaster shelters, according to MNN.

You can join others with donation to the American Humane Association which will provide disaster relief to Japan's animals in need.
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