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Animal Rescue Society formed on Okinawa

Date Posted: 2004-09-24

Okinawa has a serious problem with unwanted dogs and cats, and ranks second in all of Japan in the number of unwanted dogs and eighth in the number of feral cats.

The Okinawa Prefectural Animal Protection Center reports that 8,666 dogs and cats were taken to the shelter, where most of them, 7,844, were put to sleep.

The situation is not unique to Okinawa’s civilian communities. Last year more than 800 pets were dumped on U.S. military bases on the island. The military’s animal shelter, Karing Kennels, reports that 3~5 percent of the animals that pass through its doors cannot be placed into new homes and must be put to sleep.

The Okinawan-American Animal Rescue Society (OAARS) has been formed to turn these numbers around. OAARS main objective is to rescue stray and abandoned animals on Okinawa through educational programs, awareness and providing adoption assistance to military families leaving the island and having to leave their pets behind. One of the biggest animal control problems is the abandoning of dogs into the Okinawa community when a military family transfers back to the United States. Microchipping is not yet mandatory and dogs, especially, are often driven to the countryside and “dumped.” Many are caught, caged and eventually put to death.

OAARS volunteers hope to lessen the number of such abandoned animals by providing an alternative adoption or foster service. Besides contacting Karing Kennels at www.18services.com/pets.html or www.okipets.com for that new family member, people looking for pets can check OOARS’ website at www.geocities.com/kcpjj03/OAARS_pg1.html.

OAARS is also dedicated to establishing a low-cost spay-neuter clinic on Okinawa to ease overpopulation and to find a more humane way to put unwanted or sick animals to rest.

To accomplish these goals, OAARS is looking for volunteers. Please contact Liz at 646-4935 or by e-mail at lizrinoki@yahoo.com. The group will be meeting Tuesday, September 28th, 7pm, Club Chesty at Camp Foster.

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