The drama unfolds with the scene of a family huddled together in a container box while the snow swirls around the bleak landscape outside. It is an exceptionally cold Japanese winter. The setting is Kawachi-Nagano city, south of Osaka. The family are a Bulgarian couple and their daughter Daniella, and in a container next door are their ‘other family’, 38 cats and six dogs. How have they come to be so far away from their home country, Bulgaria?
Two years ago, as part of a circus troupe, they came to Japan and performed in many places. Their journey ended in November 2005 when the circus company went bankrupt and the owner disappeared with the proceeds. The promotion company also balked at having to pay their back salaries or the repatriation costs for their animals to Bulgaria.
As time passed the situation for the animals became desperate. While the dogs could exercise outside the container, the cats were contained in dark cages without exercise or sunlight. The promotion company was obviously playing for time, knowing that before long their visas would run out and they would be forced to leave Japan, probably without their precious animals.
After the Mainichi Broadcasting Station (MBS) aired their plight on the news programme ‘VOICE’ at the end of January, many ordinary Japanese came forward to offer help with money and food for the animals. ARK opened a post office account for donations and we were overwhelmed by the offers of help we received. Within a week of our appeal, the fund reached enough to cover the airfare for the family and their animals to return to Bulgaria.
We would like to express our deepest gratitude to the people who gave so generously to make this possible and also to MBS whose programme touched the hearts of so many ordinary Japanese.
For updates on this story , please look at ARK’s homepage; arkbark.net