It sucks to see pets being crammed together like this, warmed like chicken karaage under intense heat lamps.
Unfortunately, pet stores like this seem to be pretty successful. There are some humane society-like organizations, but they are not nearly as big or powerful as they are back in the states. Only in places like Ashiya have I ever seen pets up for adoption.
Walking down one of the many shotengai in Shinsaibashi, my brother points to a well-known pet store flanked by a pachinko parlor and a mom and pop store that?s been closed up for the night. ?That place got raided by the cops a few years ago. Thy got busted for keeping a tiger and other endangered animals in the back room.? he says. Yakuza like to keep such animals in their apartments to show off, supposedly.
The first thing you?re probably thinking when you look at these pictures is likely to be something like ?Look at the poor little furry animals! That?s so cruel!?
And I would agree with you. Puppies being abandoned in the wilderness or tortured for amusement, newborn kittens tossed into drainage systems during a rainstorm, toads being ripped apart by over-excited little boys, frogs getting blown up with firecrackers (some of these don’t count as pets, but illustrate the sadistic pleasure that some people get from torturing or destroying animals in general). Pets are neglected and waste away. It?s normal to see these things over here, but that’s only the most visible aspect of this subject.
But I would argue that most Japanese pets are treated like part of the family and are very well taken care of. It should be noted that many people that I know who take care of their pets properly either get them as part of a litter of a friend’s pet, or rescue them from a dire situation.
For those owners that keep their pets in tiny enclosed areas, I would argue that many would not consider this cruel. Many people in the city live their lives under similar (but admittedly different) circumstances. If you lived your whole life in a tiny apartment and spent every working day in a cramped office, you might not see anything wrong with keeping your pet in a similar environment. Master and pet, sharing the gaman.
Surprisingly, I think that the dogs of the homeless people live the best lives of all pets in Japan on average. They look the happiest, and seem to be well taken care of. Most homeless rely on their dogs to guard their possessions and property. They are valued companions. They also enjoy a greater degree of freedom than pets owned by people with houses, as they often get to play and hang out with other whenever they like.
If you walk along the Yodogawa, you will see improvised tombstones, bearing names like Kuro and Chibi. These weren?t just dogs, they truly were part of the family.