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by Chisé Tsuzuki

650,000 Per Year or 50 Every Second

"...pets can't choose their owners."
Can you imagine what these numbers are? They are dogs and cats, which were killed at shelters of local governments in Japan last year. Why did so many dogs and cats get killed? One of the reasons is that there are many people who aren't responsible enough to keep pets. Also it's the owners' lack of knowledge about care and training that often results in the death of an animal.

Miserable Pets

I used to work at the veterinary hospital as an Animal Health Technician. When I worked there, there were so many opportunities to encounter such sad and miserable pets. One dog was taken to the hospital by the owner who wanted the veterinarian to get rid of the vocal cords because it barked too much. How cruel the idea was! Why did the dog bark so much? Because the owner didn't train the dog properly. Training pets is one of an owner's responsibilities.


On the other hand, some people are easily influenced by fads. For example, the comic book called "Dobutsu no Oisha-san", about a veterinarian, was very popular more than 5-6 years ago. In the story, the main character kept a dog, a Siberian husky, named "Chobi". During that period I saw so many Siberian huskies, named "Chobi" at the hospital. Some of them didn't look healthy and had some physical problems such as leg-joint problems because of inter-breeding. In addition, some owners didn't know how big the Siberian huskies would become, and how much they would need to be exercised as they grew up. Those situations show that some owners aren't prepared, and even don't know how to look after dogs such as Siberian huskies. Such dogs need to exercise a lot and to be treated as the dogs, from the cold countries. As a result, the owners who get fed up with keeping their dogs due to a lack of knowledge might take them to the shelter. Being trained how to keep the pets by experts is also one of an owner's responsibilities, and it could help reduce the numbers of dogs and cats which are killed.

School Trip

It's also a good idea to show children how important lives are. While I learned at veterinary college, my classmates and I went to a shelter as a school trip. This trip was very meaningful for me. As soon as we got in the room the dogs and the cats were in, they started wailing to ask us to let them out because they knew what would happen to them 5 days later. The room was divided by 5 big cages. The dogs and the cats had 5 days left. Day by day, they were moved to the next room, and on the fifth day they were finally moved to the final cage, called the "Gas Room". The switch is always turned on to kill them by a veterinarian. The veterinarian told us how difficult, hard, and painful turning the switch on is every time.

Dirty Job

"As soon as gas comes into the room, you can hear the noise the dogs and the cats make because of too much pain. It takes one-two minutes until they died completely. It always feels longer than it actually is. This isn't humane. When I started working here, I was wondering why I was here. The reason why I became a veterinarian was I wanted to want help animals out, not to kill them. However, I've recently started wondering how I could help such sad-unhappy dogs and cats." As we listened to his story and dogs and cats wailing, some my classmates started crying.


I believe that people and animals can coexist. You just need to make an effort to train your pets, to learn how to keep your pets properly, and to be responsible. Do you know why? Because pets can't choose their owners. They don't have any choices or any control of how they would make their own life better. When you decide to keep a pet, your responsibilities have already started.

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