Pets Present Growing Concern in Noto Earthquake Affected Zones | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Pets Present Growing Concern in Noto Earthquake Affected Zones

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A cat quietly inside a collapsed house. It lay still on top of clothing.

It is still fresh in our minds that two pets checked in the cargo hold were killed in the cruel accident at Haneda Airport on January 2, when a Japan Coast Guard aircraft collided with a JAL plane. Many pets also suffered from the Noto Peninsula earthquake this time.


In Wajima City, many buildings were damaged by the earthquake, and many of them had their ground floors completely collapsed. Then I heard a cat meowing from the ground floor of a collapsed house. When I looked through a gap in the building, which was barely accessible to people, I saw a cat meowing sadly in a room with collapsed pillars and other objects scattered.

I called out to it, but it sat on a piece of clothing on the floor and did not move an inch. A government official and others passing by called out to the cat, but it remained quietly in its position. It did not seem to be injured, but I wondered if it was waiting for its owner to return. The cat was quietly staying in the room with occasional flurries of snow. We can only pray for the safety of the owner and the cat.


The same thing happened in Suzu City. As we continued our coverage, we heard two dogs barking. I turned my eyes and saw two white dogs running around the garden and field of a house. They were barking at passersby, although the fence was high enough to climb over, these dogs also made no attempt to leave the house property or garden.

The conditions inside the houses were deplorable.

On the other hand, pets are accepted at shelters opened in various cities, towns, and villages.


Some shelters do not allow pets at all, some only allow large dogs, some only small animals, some allow pets to accompany evacuees, and some provide rooms where pets can live with other evacuees. This is partly due to the capacity of the shelters in each city. However, there are many cases where pet owners have been forced to spend time with their pets in gauges even though they were able to live in evacuation centers, or where they had to deal with noise problems or people who were not comfortable with animals, resulting in pet owners being very cautious of their surroundings and ending up staying in their cars or returning to their damaged homes.

Some said that pets that do not like the cold cannot turn off the engine when staying in a car, so they spend the night with the engine running, which also causes gasoline consumption to be a concern.

Pets are also important members of the family, but we humans still have to consider what we can do in the event of a disaster.

Two dogs refused to leave the premises of a house. They were barking at people passing by.
  • Interview, photography, and text Takuma Arimura

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