Details of Laws, Regulations, and Ordinances

Tokyo Prefectural Rules of Domestic Dogs

April 2nd, 1873 Tokyo Prefectural Rules of Domestic Dogs 

After an outbreak of rabies in which nine people were killed, the Tokyo Prefectural Government promulgated the Dog Control Regulations (Tokyo-fu kun No. 49).

After the promulgation of these regulations, they spread from Tokyo to the rest of the country, and in many places, people began to distinguish between domesticated and non-domesticated dogs and to exterminate dogs that were not domesticated.(Based on Minstry of Environment)It is thought to be the pioneer of the domestic dog rules.


1. Dogs must wear a collar and a wooden tag with the owner’s name and address clearly written on it, and dogs that do not wear a collar must be exterminated
2. Dogs infected with rabies must be exterminated by their owners.
3. If a rabid dog is found on the road, it must be beaten to death by a police officer or any other person, and the owner must pay for the cost.
4. Owners must keep rabid dogs on a leash and take care that they do not harm livestock.
5. If your dog harms another person’s livestock, the owner must pay compensation.
6. If a domesticated dog kills a person, the owner cannot escape responsibility for the dog’s negligence and must pay compensation.

Regulations for the Control of Domestic Dogs (Revised)

May 18, 1881 (Meiji 14) Police Order No. 26, Regulations for the Control of Domestic Dogs (Revised)

The Regulations for the Control of Domestic Animals and Dogs, as a local police ordinance, governed the control of domestic animals. The amendment stipulated that owners of dogs with signs of contagious diseases or rabid dogs were obliged to tether their dogs and notify the competent police station; that owners were required to notify the competent police station if their dogs went missing; and that owners were required to pay a fee if their unmarked dogs were captured and kept by the police station. It stipulates that the money paid by the owner shall be used to cover the cost of keeping the dog and repairing the cage.


Article 1 Every dog shall wear a collar or tag bearing the name and address of its owner.

Article 2 Dogs that show signs of canine infectious diseases or are rabid and may cause injury to humans or animals shall be kept on mooring by their owners to prevent them from escaping. However, if there are signs of an infectious disease, the owner shall promptly notify the local police station.

Article 3 When the Metropolitan Police Department confirms that a dog is infected with a contagious disease, the owner and a police officer may beat the dog to death in the presence of the owner and the police officer. The beaten dog shall be incinerated.

Article 4 Any person who wishes to search for a missing dog shall notify the police station in charge of the matter, giving details of the dog’s size, coat color, breed, etc.

Article 5 When an unmarked dog is found wandering about, the Metropolitan Police Department shall seize it, place it in a cage within the Police Department, and keep and feed it for one week.

Article 6 If the owner of a stray dog as described in the preceding article wishes to retrieve it, he or she shall be charged a fee of 25.00 yen per day to keep the dog and the fee shall be refunded. If no one wishes to retrieve the dog within one week, it shall be sold by the Metropolitan Police Department and the proceeds shall be used to pay for the cost of breeding fees and cage repairs, etc.

Enactment of the Animal Quarantine and Prevention Act

March 29, 1896 Law No. 60 Enactment of the Animal Quarantine and Prevention Act

Although the Regulations for the Prevention of Infectious Diseases of Animals had been in place, the law was enacted after two invasions of cattle plague and the outbreak of rabies and other infectious diseases, which the regulations alone were not sufficient to prevent.

With the enactment of the Animal Quarantine and Prevention Law, rabies was defined for the first time as a legally contagious disease, and quarantine was implemented. In addition, dogs were defined as animals, and their status as such was established by law.

Difference between Regulations for the Control of Domestic Dogs
While the Regulations for the Control of Domestic Dogs stipulated the responsibility and burden of dog owners, this law provides for an allowance to the contrary, with the national treasury bearing the costs related to the disposal of rabid dogs for disease evaluation. This was an important enactment of a law based on a change in mindset that quarantine measures are not something that can be taken on an individual level, but must be addressed as a national government to be effective.

Contents (excerpts of relevant parts)

Article 1 Designation of Rabies as one of the Ten Animal Quarantines

Article 2 The owner, caretaker, or veterinarian who discovers that an animal has or is suspected of having the disease must notify the police station or the mayor of the municipality.
The same shall also apply when a rabies-infected animal is beaten to death.

Article 3 The owner or caretaker who discovers that his/her animal has or is suspected of having contracted the disease shall immediately lock the animal away (confine it in a private house) or isolate it from healthy animals under the supervision of a police officer, veterinarian, or quarantine committee member.

Article 4 Any dog that has contracted rabies shall be immediately beaten to death by the owner/caretaker under the direction of a police officer, veterinarian, or quarantine commissioner. (2) In the absence of the owner/caretaker, a police officer, veterinarian, or quarantine committee member shall immediately beat to death the dog.

Article 6 Even if the owner does not follow the instructions in Article 4, the police officer, veterinarian, or quarantine committee member may beat the animal to death immediately.

Article 7 The owner or caretaker shall burn or bury the bludgeoned carcass under the direction of the police officer, veterinarian, or quarantine committee member.

Article 9 Bludgeoned or diseased corpses shall not be exhumed or used.

Article 10 Allowance shall be given to those who are beaten to death for disease evaluation (including rabid dogs).

Article 11 No allowance shall be paid for the beating to death of a dog that has rabies.

Article 12 The Regional Director may, when necessary for the prevention of animal quarantine, designate areas and types of animals and restrict their entry and exit.

Article 14 The Regional Director may limit the area and inspect healthy animals when deemed necessary for the prevention of animal quarantine.

Article 15 When there is a risk of the invasion of animals from abroad, the quarantine of imported animals may be carried out, and in some circumstances, it may be suspended.

Article 17, Article 18, Article 19 Provisions on Fines

Notification of Preventive Measures against Zoonosis

February 24, 1897, Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce Notification No. 4, “Preventive Measures against Zoonosis”

Contents (excerpts of relevant parts)

Section 1 When bitten by a rabid animal, both humans and animals are at risk. If a rabid animal is present, special care shall be taken to prevent it from escaping, and it shall be promptly beaten to death.

Section 2 Animals bitten by a rabid animal shall be strictly chained until symptoms appear and shall be beaten to death immediately upon the first sign of rabies.

Section 3 Description of rabies symptoms, etc.

Notification of rabies prevention (quarantine measures)

December 8, 1914 (Taisho 3) Notification of Rabies Prevention, Agriculture No. 9423

In 1914, the Director-General of the Agricultural Affairs Bureau and the Director-General of the Public Health Bureau, officially announced that it was important to obtain the cooperation of local residents in order to make quarantine measures effective.  They issued the notice to each prefecture with this directive.

(i) To give public health lectures or distribute printed materials to draw the public’s attention to the dangers of rabies, prevention, and other issues.

(ii) A method shall be established to clearly distinguish between owner-owned dogs and ownerless stray dogs.

(iii) Dogs shall not be kept from the proximity of other dogs during an epidemic of rabies, by being tied up or by any other means.

(iv) Vagrant dogs shall be captured and treated appropriately for the purpose of debauchery.

(v) Dogs suspected of having rabies shall be kept without chains or quarantine and examined occasionally for at least ten days.

(vi) In the event of an outbreak of rabies, to investigate the lineage of the outbreak and take appropriate measures without delay

(vii) In the event that a person is bitten by a dog that has or is suspected of having rabies, immediately go to the nearest police station and ask for instructions

(viii) In the case of a dead dog, an examination shall be made as far as possible, and appropriate measures shall be taken.

Enactment of Act on the Prevention of Infectious Diseases in Livestock

April, 1922. Act No. 29. Act on the Prevention of Infectious Diseases in Livestock

Contents (only points that differ from the Animal Quarantine and Prevention Act are noted)

Article 4 In the event of rabies infection, the owner/manager shall immediately beat the animal to death in accordance with the instructions of the police officer or animal quarantine commissioner. However, in case of emergency, the animal may be beaten to death without waiting for instructions.

Article 7 When the District Director deems it necessary for the prevention of infectious diseases, the police officer or Animal Quarantine Officer may examine the livestock (including dogs), administer immunizing serum, and give injections. Owners and managers of livestock shall not refuse this assistance.

Article 17 When the Regional Director deems it necessary for the prevention of rabies, he/she may intern roaming dogs. The owner shall be notified when the dog is detained. If the owner is unknown, a public notice shall be given to that effect, and if no request is made for the return of the dog within the stipulated period, the dog may be destroyed.

Article 24 Allowances were granted for disease identification, but still no allowance for rabid dogs beaten to death.

These provisions were newly added.

Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Instruction on Rabies Control

Memorandum from GHQ

Notification of Rabies Prevention Eradication Measures Guidelines

April 5th 1950 The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry issued a notice on rabies prevention and eradication measures

Under the names of the Vice-Ministers of Health and Welfare and Agriculture and Forestry, the guidelines for rabies prevention and eradication were issued to prefectural governors. Based on the contents of the memorandum, the following contents were the main factors.

(1) Restrictions on the movement of dogs

(2) Thoroughly enforce vaccination and detainment of roaming dogs

(3) Treatment of mutilated dogs

(4) Provision of rabies prevention solution

(5) Thorough publiciy

Enactment of the Rabies Prevention Law