AKITA – Akita Prefecture Gov. Norihisa Satake, who once received a pet cat as a gift from Russian President Vladimir Putin, is spearheading plans for a new animal shelter in the area.
Under the plan, the facility would be built on a 6,200-sq.-meter lot within a park in the city of Akita. To open at the start of fiscal 2019, ¥840 million will be earmarked for construction costs.
Satake said, “We hope to make use of the new facility so that Akita will be a place kinder to animals and also to people.”
The ailurophile governor has eight pet cats, including a Siberian cat, Mir, presented by Putin in 2013 in return for an Akita dog, Yume.
The facility, which will be made of wood, will include a room for cats to move around freely and a space for visitors to pet them. Volunteer groups will be able to use a hall in the facility for events aimed at finding owners for cats and dogs.
Officials said it is hoped the facility will increase the adoption rate of cats and dogs, and reduce the number of animals that are euthanized, eventually to zero.
In fiscal 2014, 150 dogs were put down by local authorities in the prefecture, compared with 2,066 dogs 15 years earlier. The annual number for cats stands at around 1,000, officials said.