Amid a rash of dog abandonment cases across the nation, 80 additional instances have been reported since October 2013 in Saitama, Yamanashi and Saga prefectures, according to local communities and animal welfare groups.
Officials in Saitama Prefecture said 46 abandoned dogs of various breeds, mainly small ones including Chihuahuas, were found between October 2013 and July of this year.
Eight of the cases involved Chihuahuas abandoned in a single park in the city of Saitama. Seven dogs were discovered in the park on Oct. 27, 2013, two of which were found dead. Between then and July, 31 abandoned dogs were found in the same park, none of which were wearing a collar.
“The dogs may have been deliberately disposed of by a breeder,” a prefectural official said.
The Saitama Prefectural Police are looking into the cases as possible violations of the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals.
On June 2 and June 30, six Chihuahuas were found abandoned near the river that divides the cities of Asaka and Shiki in Saitama Prefecture. The city of Higashimatsuyama, also in Saitama Prefecture, said nine miniature dachshunds were abandoned in July.
In Yamanashi Prefecture, as many as 26 mature small breed dogs including Yorkshire terriers were found in the town of Nanbu in March and April. The prefecture said another eight dogs were found roaming the town’s streets earlier in the year.
Yamanashi Prefecture launched an investigation and inspected about 100 dog breeders but found no evidence of violations.
According to Happy Voice, an animal welfare group based in Saga Prefecture, 18 abandoned Maltese dogs were found in October and November in that prefecture, in addition to an earlier case in which seven dogs were either caught alive or found dead. In some of the cases, people who picked up the animals did not report to local authorities but had taken them in, the group said.
On Wednesday, prefectural officials spotted a stray dog, believed to have been abandoned, in a parking lot in Takeo and took it to a shelter.