“Gah! and ‘Hyang! I hear the screams of dogs and cats day and night, waking me up many times in the middle of the night. ……
Mr. A, who lives in Fujisawa City, Kanagawa Prefecture, is troubled by “noise” problems in his neighborhood. He says the cries are coming from a house. A woman (Mr. B) who used to frequent the house reveals the identity of the cries.
The house is the office of an animal welfare organization called “Rescued Animal Network. Although it claims to be an animal welfare organization, Hiroshi Kawai, 59, its representative director, was arrested last November on charges of violating the Animal Protection Law (cruelty to animals) and was indicted on March 23.
Mr. B used to participate in “Rescued Animal Network” as a volunteer.
Kawai kept about 100 dogs and cats, which he collected through a community-based trading service called “Jimottee,” in a room measuring only 30 tatami mats. They were confined in cramped cages.”
The organization had introduced an astonishing “discipline” system, according to Mr. B. “The dogs were so happy to get out of their cages,” he said.
They used to beat dogs that were overjoyed to get out of their cages, claiming that they had not been disciplined enough. Under the teachings of Representative Kawai, who said, ‘Only when you kick a dog so hard that it blows up, does the dog reevaluate humans and listen to you,’ it was a bizarre group of five or six staff members who routinely reported to each other, ‘We beat the dog up because it didn’t listen to us. They slapped the dogs, kicked them like soccer balls, and poked them with a vinyl pipe called a “punishment stick” until they stopped screaming.
The first to third images are part of their “discipline” that this magazine obtained. After noticing the abuse, private volunteers and the Kanagawa Prefectural Animal Protection Center filed charges against Kawai.
He has been criminally charged with animal abuse twice in the last three years. Following the first criminal charge, a total of 107 dogs and cats were seized by the police in September ’21 and taken into custody by the private volunteers, but the ownership of the dogs and cats remained with Representative Kawai. The police are demanding that the private volunteers return the 107 dogs and cats.
The group is still active while awaiting trial. We interviewed Representative Kawai while he was walking with a shelter dog.
–I heard that he claims on a daily basis that “it is not abuse to beat dogs and cats. What are your true intentions?
We take in dogs that bite people and are not taken in by the government or ordinary welfare organizations. We don’t train them, but rather train and discipline them.
–What do you think about the fact that he has actually been arrested and is being held legally responsible?
What do you think about the fact that he is being held legally responsible for his actions? For dogs that don’t understand language, there is no other way. Dogs are left in cages because they are selfish. It is important for them to be able to grow up in a small space. We will fight this case all the way to the Supreme Court.”
Attorney Kimitoshi Takemura, an expert on animal welfare issues, sounded the alarm.
Before entrusting a dog to a shelter, you need to know what kind of organization it is. In many cases, even if you ask for the return of the animals after abuse is suspected, they will not respond to your request. However, even if you are shown the actual facility, it is difficult to tell the difference. Check to see if the organization has a history of trouble or abuse. You should be cautious when transferring animals between individuals without going through the government, as was the case here, because it often leads to trouble.”
Currently, there are about 40 animals in the organization’s care. The screams of the animals have not stopped.
From the April 21 and 28, 2023 issues of FRIDAY
PHOTO： Masayoshi Katayama