Rescue efforts are underway to save abandoned pets in Japan's Fukushima prefecture, and the future isn't looking too bright for all of them, especially those that may be left behind.
Beloved pooches and cats, who were displaced by the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the country in March 2011, now face a cold winter alone and helpless unless they are hurried off to a shelter.
If left alone, tens of them will die every day, Yasunori Hoso of the United Kennel Club Japan told Reuters. Unlike well-fed animals that can keep themselves warm with their own body fat, starving ones will just shrivel up and die.
The pet evacuation crisis is not unlike what happens after a natural disaster. Humans have taken priority over animals during many such crises. Rescue efforts specifically geared toward animals can be a huge help. Approximately 8,000 animals were rescued in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, according to a 2005 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) report.
Now efforts are underway to save the Fukushima pets before winter comes in full force. The UKC Japan is accepting donations.
If we cannot go in to take them out, I hope the government will at least let us go there and leave food for them, Hoso said.
Here are photos of the prefecture's rescued pets.