Home > Helping Japan > UPDATE: Questions on Two Distressed Sendai Dogs Rescue

UPDATE: Questions on Two Distressed Sendai Dogs Rescue

March 18, 2011

UPDATE MARCH 25, 2011: I am still poking around for photos or a followup by CNN or others major media where this story originated, but to no avail. Initially when I posted my article I referenced CNN, Kenn Surakai, and Global Animal Rescue – three sources. But, it is a self-referencing circle and without further validated sources, the story cannot be substantiated. It is a travesty by all accounts. I have posted updates so readers, on their own, can go over to Global Animal Rescue, and track what they have to say. I see limited credibility from all the original sources. If anything more comes to light from other sources, I will post at that time. Until then, I am posting nothing more on this story.

UPDATE: Information from one of PTWB readers indicates there is some question as to the actual rescue of the two dogs from Sendai as previously reported. Global Animal Rescue is following up on the story. Here is an excerpt from their site. Go there to continue following their updates.

MARCH 23, 2011: A comment from the Global Animal Rescue reader posted this account BUT NO PHOTOS.

Date: Wed, Mar 23, 2011 10:40 pm
Fuji Television has received countless inquiries regarding the two dogs our
camera crew met in the earthquake/tsunami ruins. As we have explained in our news program, shortly after, they were both rescued by an animal protection group that has professional knowledge regarding animal rescue. The brown dog is doing very well. The white dog was weak at first, but was given an IV injection and is currently with a vet. Both dogs had ID chips and their respective owners have been identified. Many pets are still stranded in the ruins looking for their owners. Fuji Television is relieved that our footage captured the attention of our viewers and resulted in the rescue of at least those two dogs.

MARCH 22, 2011: Global Animal Rescue has posted an editorial based on their interview with Kenn Surakai. Bottom line: we do not know who has the dogs, if they were in fact rescued, and if rescued where they are located.

CNN, UK Telegraph, NPR, PETA and ABC News affiliates have reported that the dogs were rescued and are being taken care of by an undisclosed veterinarian, based solely on Facebook posts by Kenn Sakurai, the owner of a dog food supply company in Japan. The major news media has not dug into the story to confirm or refute Mr. Sakurai’s claims, which have been varied at best. These large media reports have ignited Global Animal’s commentary and the internet itself, drowning Mr. Sakurai in his own accusatory word tsunami.

To get beyond the rumors, Global Animal interviewed Mr. Sakurai at length today. He said that he himself did not rescue the dogs, but rather, friends of his who are off-road bikers did. He stated there were only two dogs (not three as rumored) and the white dog, which Mr. Sakurai doesn’t know the gender of, was in bad condition from near drowning. The bikers wrapped the two dogs into separate blankets fastened with a metal ring on the corner (which the bikers had in case of their own accidents) and took the dogs to an undisclosed veterinarian, where they are being treated.

Read the entire article, click here

MARCH 18, 2011: The co-founders of GlobalAnimal.org spoke by phone this morning with Mr. Kenn Sakurai, who last week claimed in his Facebook Page that he assisted in the rescue of the two dogs in the “Loyal Friends” video. Given the apparent health of the dogs in the video, particularly the white dog (pictured right), it remains unclear whether they have survived. We have asked for photos of the dogs to confirm their survival and safekeeping. Given the unconfirmed reporting of the fate of these two dogs, Global Animal is awaiting the requested photos to verify the rest of Mr. Sakurai’s story about the dog’s rescue before printing it. Mr. Sakurai clarified in our interview that the donations he is accepting on his Facebook page are not for these two dogs or their care.

UPDATE: 12:14 AM, March 18, 2011 – TSUNAMI DOGS’ SAFETY UNCONFIRMED

Truth is a moving target, and sometimes comes in the form of uncertainty, without being wrapped up in a quick happy ending. Global Animal has received many inquiries regarding the loyal tsunami dog video (above) and we now regret to say that sources saying these two dogs are safe are unconfirmed. Susan Mercer, from Heart-Tokushima, one of the three rescue organizations connected with Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue And Support, wrote the following to Global Animal:

“We are amazed at the amount of support we are receiving from the International community and are deeply grateful. Isabella and team searched until dark for the two dogs that appeared in the youtube video but were unable to locate them. It has been rumored that they were rescued but we have yet to see any photos or videos of them post-rescue. We will update you when we find documented proof of their well-being.”

In Global Animal’s follow-up interview with Susan Mercer, she categorically stated that Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support did not rescue these two dogs, even though they went searching for them. So, the three legitimate rescue organizations connected with JEARS don’t know the dogs’ whereabouts, despite reports from CNN and The Telegraph UK. CNN’s video report by Jeanne Moos reported the dogs were rescued, citing a Facebook entry by a man named Kenn Sakurais.

Global Animal has sent a message to Kenn Sakurai’s via his Facebook page asking him about the whereabouts of the dogs and for photographic proof that they are safe. We have not heard back yet. Global Animal is also in the process of finding the names of the veterinarians supposedly caring for the dogs to establish proof. Too little is known at this time of his intentions. If Ken Sakurai responds to us with photographic proof, Global Animal will report it immediately. Such is the nature of news in the social media age. Until proof can be established on the safety and whereabout of these dogs, Global Animal cannot recommend that donations be made to Kenn Sakurai on his Facebook page.

Our aim is to keep Global Animal readers updated as we continue to find out what is happening in a chaotic and often desperate situation. The truth is important. To this end, we will post continuous updates on this story and will notify Global Animal’s Facebook friends (“like” us on Facebook to receive updates). Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support is doing exceptional work. Susan Mercer explained to Global Animal that donations will provide food and water for the animals who are in evacuation sites with their guardians. Plus, they are actively trying to transfer lost and injured pets out of the devastated areas to safe undamaged areas, such as the HEART -Tokushima shelter.

ORIGINAL POST — NOW UPDATED AS UNCONFIRMED!
This brings tears to my eyes. I saw on CNN this morning the followup story on the two dogs in Sendai — one injured and one standing by his injured companion. The dogs have since been rescued and are being treated in the nearby town of Mito. I own two dogs and they are inseparable. This story I hope will encourage people to donate to animal rescue efforts.

Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue link, click here

Global Animal Rescue click here

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  1. Shilva
    March 20, 2011 at 6:50 am

    Instead of taking a video of these dogs… couldn’t they just help them directly instead?

  2. susanna
    March 20, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    I’m sorry but spreading unconfirmed information does not serve these dogs in any way. No one knows if they were rescued and it may never be known – Sorry if that’s not what some want to hear, but truth is more important then false hope!

  3. March 21, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    You are correct. I went by what was reported from a major news source and followed up to the person – Kenn Sakurai’s web site and FB page; I am updating the post today with the most current information and will continue on this story until resolved.

  4. vin man
    March 22, 2011 at 8:30 am

    This guy Ken Sakurai rubs me the wrong way.I hope I am wrong and these dogs are safe ,but he he has changed his story to many times.

  5. vin man
    March 22, 2011 at 9:54 am

    Thanks for updating,to many sites just dont follow up !

  6. Aunt J.
    March 25, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    I find it fascinating that the update from FujiTV that Global Animal posted on their site this morning, deemed “substantive” by Global, is virtually the same story that Mr. Sakurai has been telling for several days: the dogs were rescued, they are in the hands of professional caregivers and being given medical treatment, etc. Global has persisted for days in keeping the hysteria whipped up about Sakurai’s alleged deceptions, casting doubt on his character and demanding photographic proof (in apparent ignorance of what a large-scale disaster does to communication and travel, to say nothing of the time and effort these demands would require of those on the ground working with rescued animals) — and now they lend their vote of confidence to the story they’ve excoriated Sakurai for. It’s also interesting to note that as the completely unsubstantiated “reporting” on this story has reached a fever pitch, donations to Global have take an upward leap.

    We KNOW there were two dogs in need of help. We KNOW that they were filmed. It seems likely that they were rescued; it seems likely they are being cared for. Where they are is unknown, at least to everybody outside of those who are actually caring for them. Instead of speculating and assuming, far better to donate to large, established groups currently on the ground in the area (not Global, but those actually doing the work), to pray for these dogs and all other animals caught up in the disaster, and stop spreading unsubstantiated garbage.

  7. March 25, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    I am still poking around for photos or a followup by CNN or others major media where this story originated, but to no avail. Initially when I posted my article I referenced CNN, Kenn Surakai, and Global Animal Rescue – three sources. But, it is a self-referencing circle and without further validated sources, the story cannot be substantiated. It is a travesty by all accounts. I have posted updates so readers, on their own, can go over to Global Animal Rescue, and track what they have to say. I see limited credibility from all the original sources. If anything more comes to light from other sources, I will post at that time. Until then, I am posting nothing more on this story.

  8. Aunt J.
    March 25, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    Thank you! The perfect description: self-referencing circle.

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