The case has been described as one of the country’s ‘worst examples of animal hoarding’ by animal rights activists.The parasite-infested dogs were found in a 30 square-metre (323 sq foot) house in the city of Izumo, in western Japan, in mid-October. Kunihisa Sagami, the head of animal rights group Dobutsukikin, said they decided to act after neighbours raised the alarm.
When entering the house, they found 164 dogs crammed onto shelves and under tables and chairs.
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Footage of the rescue showed dozens of distressed and skinny dogs covering every available surface.‘The entire floor was filled with dogs and all the floor space you could see was covered with faeces,’ said Mr Sagami.
Public health officials first visited the house seven years ago after getting complaints from neighbours about the noise and bad smell but the owner refused to let officials investigate at that time.
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The three people living in the house said they could not afford to spay and neuter the dogs, so they kept getting more of them.Sagami said the family has agreed to give up the dogs and his group would look for foster homes for them after they got medical care.
Cases of animal hoarding are on the increase in Japan with experts saying it’s being fuelled by poverty, isolation and an ageing population.Of 368 cases reported to the authorities, about 30% of the owners were aged 70 or over and a significant proportion had dementia, according to figures quoted by The Guardian.
New laws have been brought in to force owners to neuter or spay their pets and fines have been increased for animal abuse.
In June, a man in his 50s was arrested after 66 dogs were found living in foul conditions in an unoccupied house.
In March, 238 cats were discovered living in unsanitary conditions in a house in northern Japan while last year, a woman and her elderly mother were found to be keeping 163 cats in a tiny room.
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