Seeking truth and fighting for pets in Japan's disaster

There are new developments on the pet rescue front in disaster-stricken Japan.

First we learn that the touching story  captured on film and reported worldwide about two dogs who stood by each other after the storm may not have had the happy ending as reported.

The latest reports from Global Animal say that there is no conclusive evidence that the dogs are still alive despite assurances from a pet food company owner that they were taken to safety. (Global Animal offers a word of caution to those seeking to donate funds through Facebook pages and provides a list of reputable animal welfare organizations in Japan.)

Meanwhile, the Animal Legal Defense Fund wants to know whether the U.S. military is making arrrangements for U.S. servicemen and women to evacuate with their pets - or forcing them to leave their pets behind. The group has written Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates to get answers after hearing from a number of panicked families.

“In a context of terrifying natural and nuclear disasters, with military personnel and their families already being separated from each other, we would hope that the U.S. government would not place an additional burden on military families by disregarding the very real bonds they have with their animal companions” said Carter Dillard, ALDF’s director of litigation.

“It is our hope that the tragedy of people forced to abandon beloved pets in order to evacuate to safety, which we saw play out on a heartbreaking scale during Hurricane Katrina, is not replicated during the current crisis in Japan.”

To make matters worse, some families report that commercial carriers are saying it is too cold to transport pets in airline cargo holds now. There are about 43,000 dependents of American military personnel living in Japan. (hat tip Ohmidog)