Mina Martinez-Hoshino is founder of AnimO – Animal Oasis, a sanctuary based in Tokyo. It all started in 2012 when Mina rescued their first pitbull. Wanting to know more about the breed, Mina went on to volunteering at a fighting dog rehabilitation center where Mina met Mina’s second rescue dog. Since then, Mina has been connected to rescue organizations which in Japan are usually run by older Japanese housewives. These people do amazing work but do not have the strength or experience to handle big dogs or exotic cases so Mina took them all in and now cares for a huge number of different species that would have otherwise been euthanized. Before Mina knew, Mina’s little place in Tokyo was full of rejected animals. Mina had several species of reptiles, hedgehogs, rabbits, monitor lizards and other giant reptiles, a meerkat, birds and rodents. All of them were unwanted by their previous owners for reasons such as aggression, deformities or because they got too big. For example, Mina have a colony of cats that all have the Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV). This is a deadly virus that is highly contagious only to other cats through saliva. So if one is found to have FeLV in a foster home, they are doomed to a short and miserable life with minimal interaction so as not to infect the healthy cats. Mina bring in these cats only and give them a cage-free life with lots of cuddles and playtime with other cats and dogs. Because of the amount of work needed for what is now over 100 animals, Mina had to quit Mina’s job and leave Tokyo in 2019 to move to Togane (Chiba) to a much bigger and cheaper plot of land where Mina have been living off Mina’s savings which are now running out. Mina recently decided to shift Mina’s focus to the high maintenance animals. Overgrown, aggressive, terminally ill, potentially dangerous, too loud etc because there are many amazing rescues in Japan that help many cats, dogs, rabbits etc. but there is a huge group of undesirable animals that have been neglected, abused, and abandoned that wouldn’t have a chance if it weren’t for this sanctuary.
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