Letter from CAIRC
May 1998 Vol.2 No.3

Increasing Interest in the Raising of Dogs and Cats in Collective Housing Construction/Real Estate Agencies, Management Unions,
Administrations are Coming to Grips with the Problems More and More -

Thanks to the great many requests already 6,000 copies of the textbook, "Together with Companion Animals — Living with Dogs and Cats in Collective Housing," have been distributed.

On February 1 of this year, "The Companion Animal Research Center" distributed the textbook on how to live with dogs and cats in collective housing, "Together with Companion Animals — Living with Dogs and Cats in Collective Housing." Distribution began at a symposium held in Kobe on February 1 with the theme of "Building a Town for People and Animals to Live Together," with about 6,000 copies being distributed in 2577 cases as of the present. The issue was also taken up in newspapers and magazines. The topic was introduced in such places as the February 19, 1998 edition of the Asahi Shimbun(National Daily) which ran an article in their family column entitled, "Train Pet Owners," about seeking better relationships between pet owners and the people who live around them; the February 10, 1998 Osaka edition of the Yomiuri Shimbun(National Daily)which ran an article entitled, "Collective Housing Which Allows Keeping of Pets," focusing on the introduction of keeping pets in public collective housing; and in the April 29 edition of Recruit's Housing Information Weekly magazine which ran the article, "Pets are Members of the Family! Condominiums Where Pets are Allowed."

The distribution locations consisted of: condominium management unions (104 cases), condominium management companies (475 cases), construction/real estate companies (306 cases), administrations (151 cases), animal related organizations and veterinarians (107 cases) other requests by the general public (1371 cases), distribution through the Companion Animal Information and Research Newsletter (404 cases) and others (43 cases) (as of April 30). Mr. Yasuo Yamaguchi, director of the supervising Japanese Society of Humane Care of Animals said, "The growth of the awareness that the communal life of people share with animals must be the reason why we received this many requests. There are many problems involved in actually raising animals in collective housing and I hope that by reading this textbook people will gain proper understanding." This time we should inquire of the organization that distributed the textbook and consider the present state of people living with pets in collective housing and how the future should be.

77% of Real Estate Agencies Plan for Condominiums Allowing
Pets -According to a Recruit Survey.

Ms. Naomi Akashi, vice chief editor of Housing Information Weekly (published by Recruit) said, "Up until now we have never taken up the issue of condominiums that allow people to keep pets. Even though readers wanted information, there were very few condominiums allowing people to keep pets. However, as of this fall this greatly changed. In the questionnaire that our company sends to real estate agencies we asked the question about plans for the future regarding condominiums allowing pets. Last year, only 20% of the companies responded that they were planning to take measures for pets, but this year it was 77%. The change was clear to see." In 1994, with an interest rate of 3% and stable land prices, condominium and housing supply began to liven up, but at present there is a feeling of over competition. Moreover, in order to take care of the diversified needs of consumers, every real estate agency is independently looking for additional value to appeal to customers and recommending product development. Condominiums allowing pets, as well as condominiums where people can have gardens and condominiums providing more storage space and the like, show that the attitude of the real estate business has greatly changed.

In the 6 pages of the special report on condominiums allowing pets in the April 29 volume of Housing Information Weekly, 2 pages were also devoted to articles about housing information.

"Requests for information continued, and we received many telephone calls from readers saying they had been waiting for this kind of information," said Ms. Yukiko Ikari from the editing department.

"There are many picky rules in collective housing but it is important that they all be obeyed. It is also necessary for tenants to communicate among themselves." (Ms. Ikari)

Examining the Support System of Animal Specialists at Collective Housing Allowing Pets Started by Public Management.

Administration grappling with this matter is becoming very detailed. In April, the first public housing allowing pets, the Hyogo Prefecture Earthquake Recovery Public Housing, made 99 units available to tenants.

"Currently, management unions are investigating the creation of support organizations from the point of view of pet ownership. For example, when there is a complaint about the barking of a dog, it is treated as a training problem without investigating the cause. However, the dog may be sick, or there might be a problem with the building... With no animal specialist within the management union, they do not know how best to handle the problem so all they do is shut the pet up. In order to cope with this problem, there are plans to create a support organization centered on dog trainers, veterinary associations, animal welfare societies and so on," according to Mr. Toyohiko Kikuchi, chief clerk of the Animal Health Office of the Hyogo Prefecture Health Department. Companion Animal Research Center textbook will be distributed at a symposium which will be held in the middle of May.

Also this textbook is used and presented at a lecture held by a local committee. "Now we are planning on holding animal training classes aimed at residents of the local community. I thought it was necessary for us to study more about how to assist people in training so we held an animal training class in March." (Mr. Yasushi Sekine, Food and Health Chief and Assistant Chief Veterinary Medical Technician for the Northern Prefecture Office of the Fukushima Prefecture Health Department)

The Circumstances Surrounding Collective Housing Differs Whether
the Community Has Interchanges between Residents or Not

What is actually happening at collective housing? This time we asked pet owners at two pioneering collective housing facilities that have organized groups for pet owners about the current state of this situation. The first place was the Hiroo Garden Hills in Hiroo, Tokyo. Hiroo is the area where foreign embassies and such are located and about 1,200 families live in Hiroo Garden Hills beginning with the sales of lots around 12 years ago. It was an unusual case in which there were rules allowing pets from the onset. The pet chairman, Mr. Hiroshi Sakai, speaks about some of the problems in collective housing allowing pets.

"We still have problems with dog training. That is why we distributed the textbooks to committee members for them to read. Even now we have people coming just to clean up the urine stains in the area. Of course there are people bringing in dogs from the outside, but when dogs are not trained properly, many people are annoyed with the dogs which are left tied in front of shops by people who go shopping and take the dog for a walk at the same time. So this becomes one cause of trouble that leads to bad feeling among neighbors. Their lifestyles among the neighbors are completely different. They don't get along. Because they can't communicate well with their neighbors, their persistence in their own opinions just drives them further apart from each other... To begin with I think it is necessary to educate the pet owners through animal training classes and bulletins."

On the other hand, for the Green Coop Senju in Senju which is also in Tokyo's Shitamachi, the story is slightly different. "We don't have any major problems. In our case, there is a membership fee of 12,000 yen and an additional deposit of 50,000 yen per pet paid to the management union. I think it's a little expensive, but that is what is necessary to handle complaints and take care of cleaning, and also maybe the high deposit causes pet owners to be aware of their responsibilities. Now under the supervision of the management union, we are budgeting for pet groups and holding animal training classes. In addition there is a condominium residents council and the residents are taking part in festivals. This seems to be very effective in maintaining good relations with our neighbors." (Mr. Mamoru Iida, Pet Committee Chairman for Green Coop Senju)

There still is no common basis in Japan for people living together with animals — a framework has not been created. The history of people keeping pets in large cities, and especially in collective housing, is very short. It is necessary for pet owners to have the correct perspective about their animals in order for everyone to be comfortable living together. "The Companion Animal Information and Research Center" believes that organizing pet owners' group to clarify each problem, as illustrated in the 2 examples of collective housing introduced here, is the first step towards creating a society where people and animals can live together.