‘Divine volunteer’ ordered to pay damages after death of abandoned dog in west Japan home

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This photo of the animal protection group Tsumugi shows the male Melon, who died after he was brought into the care of a woman named “Divine Volunteer”.

OSAKA – A woman in Kyoto Prefecture who took abandoned dogs and cats to her home was fined approximately 67,000 yen by the Osaka District Court (approx. A dog died in a poor environment.

The presiding judge realized that the woman took the dog in even though she lacked the will or ability to properly care for him and made him weak.

Over the past 25 years, the 55-year-old is said to have voluntarily taken in many dogs and cats from the animal shelter and raised them in her home in Yawata, Kyoto Prefecture. She was known in her community as a “divine volunteer”.

According to the decision of November 26, 2016, the Tsumugi animal welfare group from Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture took in the male Melon after the animal was looked after by a public health center. About two weeks after the group began looking for a new home for the animal, they gave the dog to the woman, who volunteered to take it in.

The verdict indicated that the woman had abandoned sick dogs and cats for lack of money. It was recognized that Melon, taken in by the woman, although she had neither the will nor the ability to properly care for him, died of emaciation in a poor environment.

The animal welfare group had asked for about 1.45 million yen (about $ 12,800) in compensation, but the court kept the amount of damage small because the dog was handed over to the woman only a short time after the group was received.

Chikako Hattori, 61, head of the animal welfare group, said in tears after the verdict: “This is not a result that will remove the animal’s grief. The lives of people and animals are equally important. I am disappointed.” The group wants to appeal.

The woman was arrested by Kyoto Prefecture police in November 2020 after it was discovered that around 30 animals in her care had been abused and some had starved from food and water. At the time, she had been subjected to a summary order that fined her 300,000 yen (approximately $ 2,646 US).

(Japanese original by Yumi Shibamura, Osaka City News Department)