Okinawan American Animal Rescue
Okinawa has an alarming rate of homeless animals. The rate at which Animal Control kills these animals is even more alarming. This problem in Okinawa is immense, due partly to the abandonment of pets by military personnel and civilians. Okinawa has one tenth of the amount of homeless animals that Tokyo does. However, the number of animals that are put to sleep in Okinawa is three times more than that of Tokyo. Japan is greatly behind the United States and European Countries on the subject of Animal Welfare. Living in Okinawa can be a tragedy of the heart for animal lovers and even more of a tragedy for the animals. Plan ahead, please be sure to PCS with your pet after all, they are part of the family.
Formally established in July 2004, OAARS is a non-profit, all volunteer organization approved by MCCS and Base Command, dedicated to improving animal welfare. OAARS works to rescue and care for abandoned, mistreated, or lost animals in Okinawa, Japan. So far, OAARS has helped about 1,100 animals find good homes.
What does OAARS do?
The Okinawan American Animal Rescue Society works to rescue and pamper abandoned, mistreated, or lost animals in Okinawa, Japan. OAARS assists local no kill shelters on Okinawa, such as Cherubims, through food donations, blankets, toys, grooming, providing many forms of volunteer services, and many other things. OAARS also works with our sister shelters in mainland Japan, PAWS, Yokosuka or Base Animal Rescue, Sasebo. We are also currently assisting in the pet visitation program that is starting at the USNH on Camp Lester.
OAARS does not have a shelter. All of OAARS animals are in foster homes, some homes with animals and some without, as the idea behind this is to socialize our animals into an home environment so when they are ready to be adopted, our animals are one step ahead.
OAARS has been featured in several magazines, including Stars and Stripes (One, Two), This Week in Okinawa, Japan Update, the Okinawa Marine, a Commercial for the Thrift Shop on Okinawa, AFN Okinawa, SPCA International as Shelter of the Week, and the Marine Corps website to name a few. OAARS has aided many animals in finding a good home. Dogs from Onna Village were cared for and made miraculous recoveries due to the hard work and love provided by OAARS. OAARS has come a long way since it’s establishment in 2004 with currently in 2010 OAARS has over 400 volunteers, OAARS members, coordinators, board members, and foster families and continues to ever grow stronger yearly.
Why does OAARS help?
Only ten percent of the animals that are brought to the Okinawa Animal Prefecture Animal Protection Center will survive. These animals are only given five days to live and then are then placed in a giant incinerator with several oven doors. They are put to death in a gas chamber. Cats are even less likely to live. They are tightly packed in four foot cages. In 2003, 8,666 dogs and cats were taken into the shelter. 521 of them were lost animals and were found by their owners. 301 animals, mostly puppies and kittens, were given a new home. The rest of the animals were killed. There are few opportunities for these animals to lead a happy life after their owners have abandoned them. In order to leave a pet at a shelter, it costs the owner $125 and the pets must have a microchip in addition to having all of their vaccinations up to date. Even with all of these fees and requirements, the shelter may become overcrowded and the animal will still be killed. If a pet is placed on the street, the owner can incur a $3,000 fine and the animal faces the high possibility of being gassed. Adult dogs are not even put up for adoption in this situation. Despite these depressing facts, many PCSing families leave their pets behind to face these consequences. OAARS hoped to help make micro chipping mandatory so that owners are held accountable for their pets and now microchipping is mandatory. We also hope to make spaying and neutering animals mandatory in order to reduce the amount of feral and homeless animals. While fighting for these issues, OAARS will continue to help animals in need. The cruelty that these animals face is depressing. The question is not, then, why do we help. The question is, how could we not?