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The Pets Left Behind Japan's Earthquake, Tsunami, and Nuclear Accident...

Elderly Japanese Woman with her pet dogVeterinarians, vet techs and several animal welfare organizations launched relief efforts after the massive March 11 earthquake and tsunami devastated northern Japan.

Initial efforts included:

  • Veterinary care for injured animals
  • Donating food and medical supplies
  • Deploying search and rescue dogs

According to Veterinary Practice News:

"Every minute counts as the teams work to find people buried beneath the rubble," said Wilma Melville, founder of the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation. "After the Haiti deployment, this is a battle-seasoned group. If there are people still alive in the rubble, the dogs will find them."

Another immediate concern is the number of missing animals and those left behind by owners who have fled the area. This situation could quickly overwhelm local animal shelters.

World Vets, a nonprofit organization that provides veterinary services all over the world is hands-on in Japan after being deployed as a first responder assessment team. The group is coordinating large scale shipments of supplies to help out local animal welfare groups. Some of the supplies coming in include cages, fluid replacements, wound treatments, de-worming medicines and vaccines.

Three local groups formed a coalition called the Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support. The coalition hopes to raise both public awareness and donations through its Facebook page. The three groups forming the coalition include:

  • Japan Cat Network
  • Animal Garden Niigata
  • HEART-Tokushima

Other organizations lending a hand with rescue teams, donations and other types of support include the Humane Society International, the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the American Veterinary Medical Foundation.