Approximately one and a half million unwanted dogs have been put to death in public animal management centers across Japan in the last ten years.
It was a very surprising figure for me as I had only been covering Japan’s colorful and luxurious pet boom, so I decided to shed some light on the dark side of the industry.
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After more than a year of seeking permission, I was finally given the go-ahead to shoot an animal management center in Tokushima and I went on a 745 mile (1,200 km) long journey from Tokyo with my DSRL camera for shooting still and video.
After 8 hours of traveling by car and train, I arrived at the town where I would have two opportunities to witness the euthanasia treatment for unwanted dogs. It became one of the saddest assignments of my life.
There are seven cells in the center, one for each day of the week. When a dog enters the center, it is placed in the cell of the corresponding day, meaning that each dog has only seven days left to survive if it cannot find a new home.