Govt to make owners responsible for pets’ safety in disasters

The “self-help” principle would be added to the ministry’s guidelines for local governments on pets’ evacuation in natural disasters, which will be revised soon, ministry officials said.

The revised guidelines would also stipulate that local governments have the role of assisting owners by improving the environment for accepting pets at evacuation centers, they said.

The ministry compiled the guidelines in 2015, after many pets were separated from their owners at the time of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that hit the Tohoku region of northeastern Japan. The guidelines assume that pet owners take the animals with them when taking shelter.

When a series of powerful earthquakes hit Kumamoto Prefecture, southwestern Japan, and surrounding areas in April last year, many owners were evacuated with their pets. In some cases, however, problems as to the handling of the evacuated pets occurred at facilities used as shelters.

Japan’s Environment Ministry is considering making clear that it is owners’ responsibility to protect the safety and health of their pets when natural disasters occur, it was learned Tuesday. (Jiji)

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