More than 160 starving and diseased dogs rescued from animal hoarding house

More than 160 starving dogs that were crammed inside a tiny house have been rescued in Japan.

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.

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.
Dozens of dogs, the animal rights group say mostly malnourished and infected by parasites, are crammed inside a tiny house in Izumo, wetsern Japan October 19, 2020, in this handout image provided by an animal rights group Doubutukikin and obtained by Reuters on November 4, 2020. Picture taken October 19, 2020. Doubutukikin/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. MANDATORY CREDIT.
Animal hoarding is becoming a big problem in Japan (Picture: Reuters)
Dozens of dogs, the animal rights group say mostly malnourished and infected by parasites, are crammed inside a tiny house in Izumo, wetsern Japan October 19, 2020, in this handout image provided by an animal rights group Doubutukikin and obtained by Reuters on November 4, 2020. Picture taken October 19, 2020. Doubutukikin/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. MANDATORY CREDIT.
Animal rights activists say it was one of the worst cases they’ve seen (Picture: Reuters)

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.

Dozens of dogs, the animal rights group say mostly malnourished and infected by parasites, are crammed inside a tiny house in Izumo, wetsern Japan October 19, 2020, in this handout image provided by an animal rights group Doubutukikin and obtained by Reuters on November 4, 2020. Picture taken October 19, 2020. Doubutukikin/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. MANDATORY CREDIT.
The dogs were being forced to live in very cramped and unhygienic conditions (Picture: Reuters)
Dozens of dogs, the animal rights group say mostly malnourished and infected by parasites, are crammed inside a tiny house in Izumo, wetsern Japan October 19, 2020, in this handout image provided by an animal rights group Doubutukikin and obtained by Reuters on November 4, 2020. Picture taken October 19, 2020. Doubutukikin/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. MANDATORY CREDIT.
Many of the dogs were malnourished and suffering from parasites (Picture: Reuters)
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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