This is supposed to encourage residents to actually register the animals and get them inoculated for rabies. So to encourage that, they are offering free, cute little resident cards for all the pedigreed dogs in the neighbourhood. The resident cards are similar to a driver’s license or a foreigner’s alien registration card; they show the name of the dog, birth date, and address. The cards even have a picture of the dog on it. At first, I was confused at how this is supposed to encourage dog owners to get their dogs inoculated for rabies/get vaccinated. The cards aren’t even tiny enough to attach to Fido’s collar (they are postcard sized).
However, anything that tries to encourage pet owners to get their pets vaccinated has to be a good thing, right? Pet owners in Japan are already mandated by law to have their dogs vaccinated. However, only about half of the people in Japan actually get their dogs vaccinated, according to current statistics. Some reasons for this lack of motivation to get pets vaccinated could be attributed to the high costs of keeping a pet in Japan. Average annual immunization shots can cost up to 30,000 yen per pet. So if you are thinking about getting a dog in Japan, think again. In addition to the 200,000 to 300,000 yen price that you will actually pay for a dog from a pet store (depending on the breed and age of the dog, of course), you will also have to factor in the cost of annual immunization shots on top of that. A friend of mine recently bought a dog from a pet store that had been “in the bargain bin” because it was a little older than the others. Needless to say, the dog got sick and my friend couldn’t afford the medical bills and had to give the dog away. Luckily she was able to find someone to take the dog but I don’t think everyone gets that lucky.