Family members of US Military stationed at the base in Okinawa, Japan, were distressed to see an overwhelming number of abandoned companion animals wandering the city. Not only are there thousands of “strays” who are born and live their lives on the streets as in many major cities throughout the world, but there is an additional problem unique to a military base town: some military families, when they go on leave or are permanently re-stationed, leave their pets behind to fend for themselves. At one point, over 7,800 of the 8,666 animals who went through the largest pound in the city in one year were destroyed: in other words, less than 10% of them survived.
To address this tragic situation, OAARS was formally established in 2004 as an all-volunteer organization approved by base command. They work to rescue and care for abandoned, mistreated, or lost animals in Okinawa. To date, the organization has helped over 1200 animals - including dogs, cats, ferrets, hamsters, and horses - find homes. They network throughout Okinawa, both within the military base community and the Japanese community.
OAARS has also been active in trying to change the paradigm of pet ownership amongst military families at the base: they advocated for and achieved mandatory microchipping of all pets, so that owners could be held accountable for abandoning their animals. They also support sterilization to reduce the number of unwanted litters. It is their hope that by encouraging responsible pet ownership, the suffering of abandoned, homeless, and lonely animals will be greatly reduced.
SPCA International is proud to honor this program for its work to improve the lives of the homeless and abandoned animals of Okinawa.
You can donate to this organization by sending a check to:
OAARS Treasurer, Cindy Rennebu
FPO AP 96602
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