Urgent message

From Akira Honda (Taicho) owner of Nyander Guard:

I have an important update on the shelter situation. It is long but very important so please read it to the end.

Two years ago, I heard about the terrible difficulty Animal Friends Niigata, an animal shelter, was having. I went to see the shelter and met with the director and the staff. I was confident I could save the shelter and turn it around. The staff was too busy to think or even notice how smelly or dirty the place was because they had their hands full performing their daily duties. They knew they had to do something to change the situation, but every day was a struggle. They were too exhausted to properly discuss the situation with the former director.

All of the staff had warm loving hearts towards animals. I wanted their pure desire to protect these animals to light up in their eyes again. I wanted to make a happy comfortable home for the animals. That small wish, however, has become more and more difficult to achieve. The financial situation since I took over the new shelter took a nosedive around last summer. Costs related to the transfer of ownership and the time necessary for the transfer did not go as planned. At the same time financial support and donations decreased drastically, and my personal funds that I used to supplement it had finally run out.

The situation became far more difficult than I had ever thought possible. I started to have big financial problems operating the two shelters and had to face reality. I wanted to avoid the worst case scenario of both shelters being shut down. It was time for me to stop this useless struggle, but if there was even a thin ray of hope, I wanted to find a way.

The conditions at the newly acquired shelter improved last year thanks to the cooperation of the staff and volunteers. The animals can live comfortably now, and the refurbishing did not incur big costs. The better working environment increased the morale of the staff, which in turn led to better care for the animals. All the animals were neutered and spayed, which was not the case before I took over.

I have a tendency to rush ahead without thinking things through. Being over-confident, another trait of mine, works well in situations like after the big disaster in Fukushima, but it also got me involved in an awfully challenging case like this.

The number of volunteers and donations of goods to the new shelter have started to increase, but monetary donations have dwindled significantly. I had to supplement the funds with the donations I received for my main shelter, Nyander Guard, and my own money.

I caused trouble not only to myself, but to the operation of Nyander Guard. I am sorry that I created difficulties for the staff working there. But regrets don’t help pay the bills or save the lives of animals.

I will not give up on the animals and the staff is doing their best, but I can’t depend on their good will any longer. They need to support themselves. I am truly sorry I can not do more for them.

Currently there is only 90,000 yen ($813) left in the Nyander Guard bank account. I reported a few months ago that I could no longer pay the staff. That situation remains unchanged. We may not be able to pay for utilities next month. During this hot and humid season, no air conditioning will be detrimental to the animals.

The photo exhibitions in the US which I did to increase support was criticized by many people. Despite that opposition I worked hard for one year. Unfortunately my efforts did not gain the expected results.

Since last September four photo exhibitions were held and I went to the US three times. It was meaningful that we could show the real situation in Fukushima, and it was also a good learning experience for me. Animal welfare is more advanced in the US, and I learned what is lacking in Japan and what needs to be done in the future. Only one year has passed, so it may be too early to say that nothing was gained.

Financially, these exhibitions did not take a loss, but they did not make big enough profits to help the operation of the shelters. I do believe though that they contributed in increasing the number of supporters abroad. But now I need to work on finding new measures to create support that can help alleviate the current financial difficulty. I can not find time to organize another photo exhibition in the US.

Whatever mistakes I made in the past, I can assure you that I will not do anything to harm the animals. This is one promise I will make. The welfare and happiness of the animals is the only thing on my mind.

We need funds to pay facility bills, medical bills for the animals and salaries for the staff.

The staff still has hope and will not give up. I am committed to doing my utmost, but we need your help to continue the operation of the shelters.

Please save the animals and donate now.

Thank you very much.

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