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The deceptively named Rescued Animal Network in Fujisawa City, Japan, is the furthest thing possible from a legitimate animal “shelter.” Instead of providing animals in need with safe temporary housing and quality care, eyewitness videos captured by a whistleblower show proprietor Hiroshi Kawai and other staff members beating dogs with batons and repeatedly jabbing them with the weapons through the bars of their miserably small cages. The dogs cower in fear and try to dodge the blows, while employees can be heard laughing. Further video evidence shows Kawai kicking dogs who are tied to leashes and unable to escape, and dragging a dog out of a cage before repeatedly punching the animal in the head. Kawai claimed to authorities that he and the other workers were punishing the dogs for bad behavior, but, as the videos show, the dogs only barked or growled in fear after they had been struck. Workers then beat them for exhibiting this normal defensive reaction.
A certified veterinarian who reviewed the footage stated that,“The abusive behavior seen in these videos is not consistent with any sort of ‘training’ recommended in dogs .”
After the whistleblower turned these and other damning videos and photos over to authorities , Kanagawa Prefectural Police removed 107 dogs from his custody and arrested Kawai. The case marks the third time that Kawai has been accused of abusing dogs. The organization appears to be in clear violation of Japan’s Act on Welfare and Management of Animals and many other regulations, and police, the public shelter, and a veterinarian all acknowledged that this is a clear case of abuse, thus the Yokohama District Public Prosecutors Office's has issued an indictment against the facility. Yet, inexplicably, the police are considering sending the rescued dogs back to their abusers. An employee of Rescued Animal Network even admitted that they are still beating the dogs who remain at the “shelter ,” and that they intend to keep doing so, saying, “We are still doing the same to animals in the name of corporal punishment .”
Photos and videos of the rescued dogs enjoying life in the proper public shelter that is now caring for them illustrate that they are calm, happy, and well-adjusted when they aren’t being abused.
These dogs need your voice
While many countries such as the U.S. have laws to protect animals from being returned to people who’ve been violent towards them, there is unfortunately no such statute in Japan. However, the Ministry of the Environment's "Guidelines on Responses to Animal Cruelty, etc.", states that when animal cruelty occurs, the government can demand that the “owner” of the animals relinquish custody. Please use the form below to urge the Kanagawa Prefecture government to pressure Kawai to relinquish custody of the rescued dogs and those who still remain at his facility. Please also ask the government to allow the public shelter to place these animals with families who will give them the lives they deserve.