TEPCO vs. 'Guerilla' Animal Rescue Family

TEPCO demands custody over two dogs the Hoshi family rescued from their plant

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Players: Hiroshi Hoshi, member of the "animal rescue guerilla" Hoshi family; TEPCO plant manager Mr. Igarashi.

Opening Serve: Hiroshi Hoshi and his family have become relatively well known for rescuing animals from the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. Recently, they discovered a pair of abandonded dogs near the plant and took them, trespassing on Tepco's private property to do so. According to The Australian, a TEPCO plant manager by the name of Mr. Igarashi witnessed the Hoshi's taking the dogs via security camera and demanded the dogs back, "suggesting they had become company property." In Hoshi's words, "He sounded that those dogs actually belong to TEPCO, because they were found at privately owned area of the plant."
Return Volley: Hoshi and his family are standing their ground, declaring "We will never give them away--we are the guardians of those two dogs."
What They Say the Fight's About: TEPCO insists that, because the dogs were found on their private property, they belong to the plant. Hoshi and his family argue that no one was taking care of the dogs, "who were found to have absorbed significant amounts of radiation," and now that they're in the Hoshi family's custody they're not going to let them go.
What the Fight's Really About: It is unclear why TEPCO would even want the dogs though, according to a Zoe Nature article on the Hoshi family, it's obvious that the dogs once belonged to someone who "left them a lot of food when they evacuated and that might have kept them alive and indoors, away from the fallout, until the food ran out." But it is not obvious that their owner worked for the plant. The other issue here is that the Hoshis, whose animal rescue missions are largely unauthorized, trespassed on TEPCO's private property in order to rescue the dogs. Still, since the folks at TEPCO didn't seem to be taking care of these animals, it seems fair to allow the Hoshis to do so if they are willing.
Who's Winning Now: The Hoshi family is winning because not only are they still in possession of the disputed dogs, but, The Australian reports, Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue, an NGO "comprising Japan's best-known animal welfare organizations," reached out to Hoshi to collaborate. This could be a chance for the Hoshi family to legitimize its efforts.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.