: Classifieds : MyJU :
Stories: Nature
Browse Nature Stories: « Previous Story | Next Story »

Festival Celebrates Being Kind To Animals

By: Kathy Diener

Date Posted: 2000-09-29

The Naha Animal Control Facility sponsored its 10th annual Animal Protection Festival on Saturday at the Okinawa Zoo and Children’s Park in Okinawa City. The event, which is held every September in celebration of “Be Kind To Animals Week,” featured a number of children’s activities, including a ring toss, face painting, and a demonstration of various wild animal calls. There was even a dancing elephant in a reflective foil suit.

All of this was designed to draw attention to the plight of homeless animals on Okinawa, thousands of which end up at the Naha pound every year. Dr. Tsuyoshi Kyuna has been with the pound for four years. In that time he has seen more than 80,000 animals put to death, making him an expert on the unhappy subject. His frustration is compounded by the knowledge that many of those animals had owners who could not be located in time to save them.

According to Dr. Kyuna, of the 3,500 people who report missing animals to the pound each year, less than 10 percent are reunited with their pets. He stresses the importance of identification tags for pets, which can mean the difference between life and death to an animal at the pound.

“If an animal has a tag, we do everything we can to contact the owner,” Dr. Kyuna says. “Without a tag, we have no way to find them.”

He also encourages owners to come to the pound as often as possible to look for their missing pets, since so many new animals are brought in each day.

Another goal of the festival is to promote adoption awareness. City health officials working at the event brought along several puppies to remind people that the animal control station is open for adoptions on Wednesdays from 1:30 to 3:30 pm.

This year’s festival provided an opportunity to inform the public of the revisions to the animal protection law, which are scheduled to take effect on December 1. The new law more clearly defines owner responsibilities, which will include spaying or neutering pets, maintaining safe, sanitary living conditions, and being educated about animal health care issues. The law authorizes substantial fines for those who neglect or abandon animals, and even allows prison sentences in cases of animal abuse. In addition, there is a provision that pet shops, breeders, and trainers must be registered with the government and face periodic inspections by animal protection officials.

Dogs and cats won’t be the only animals protected under the law. Snakes and other reptiles are also covered, as is the mongoose. Habu-mongoose fights, which have been voluntarily suspended for several months due to the number of complaints from tourists, will be officially banned.

Though some of the language in the new law is vague and open to interpretation, it is still expected to broaden the authority of police and health officials to take action in cases of animal abuse. Dr. Kyuna attributes these changes to Japanese humane organizations which petitioned the government for stronger animal protection laws.

“It’s not a perfect system,” he says, “but it will be a change for the better.”

Browse Nature Stories: « Previous Story | Next Story »

weather currency health and beauty restaurants Yellowpages JU Blog

JU FacebookOkistyleOkistyle

Go to advertising PDF?||?|o?L?qAE?|?}?OA?N?ga`OkiStyle?A??q?qM?oeu^?I`??N?gX?<eth>?<ETH>?ni^?IWanted!!Golden Kings ScheduleOkiNightSeeker