KYOTO (TR) – Dozens of dead dogs and cats were found at a residence of an animal welfare volunteer in Yawata City on Friday, police said, reports NHK (June 5).
Officers in protective gear searching the residence of the volunteer, a woman in her 50s, found excrement, trash and the bodies of dozens of cats and dogs.
According to police, the woman has been doing volunteer work to protect stray dogs and abandoned cats for many years.
However, a health center has received complaints from neighbors regarding dogs barking and foul smells emanating from the residence over the past two years. Staff members from the center have visited the residence on several occasions to provide guidance to the woman.
In the Kansai area, the woman has become knowns as the “God” of animal care volunteers for her work over the past 20 years.
When asked by Mainichi Broadcasting System on June 5 about how she cared for the animals, she said, “I fed them the usual amount everyday.”
Police are now investigating whether the woman failed to provide provide sufficient food to the dogs and cats, which would be a violation of the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals.
“Manure on the ceiling”
Police entered the residence after receiving a tip from an animal conservation group in Kobe City. Erika Kawada, a member of the group, visited the residence on Wednesday.
“There was manure on the ceiling, and there were bones of dead dogs and cats on the second floor,” she said. “I was so angry and sad, and wondered why [the animals] had been entrusted to this person.”
Kawada described the case as an example of what is known as “Rearing Failure on a Large Scale.”
“By continuing to accept cats and dogs and not listen to outside advice, it became impossible to properly raise [the animals],” she said. “This so-called ‘Rearing Failure on a Large Scale’ is a form of animal cruelty. I think it is important for the [volunteer] to think carefully about how to responsibly raise [the animals] such that these situations can be prevented.”
The issue is an ongoing problem. According to the Ministry of the Environment, there were more than 2,000 cases of “Rearing Failure on a Large Scale” nationwide in 2018.