AnimO’s primary mission has two parts. The first is to rescue exotic animals from the pet trade and euthanasia, to rehabilitate them if need be, and to give them lifetime sanctuary. The other is to educate people about the difference between domestic and exotic animals. The reality is that exotic “pets” have not gone through the domestication process enough to thrive in life in captivity. Exotic animals have adapted to live in very specific conditions which we cannot provide them, therefore keeping them as pets and depriving them of their basic needs is abuse. We want to help people make better choices about bringing home a pet.
Since it’s not possible for captive-bred animals to be returned to the wild, we try to replicate their natural habitat as closely as possible and provide enough enrichment for them to live a quality life.
AnimO’s secondary mission is wildlife rehabilitation/release and repopulation.
PLEASE NOTE: if you find a stray or need to rehome a dog or cat, please contact a dog or cat shelter; AnimO needs to keep its resources free for exotic animals that other people aren’t qualified to work with.
Mina started working with animals by training her first pitbull puppy in 2012. Learning how to train her dog turned into earning multiple dog training certificates and volunteering her time with a fighting dog rescue and rehabilitation center. There, she gained a reputation for being able to handle the more difficult animals. From there it wasn’t much of a leap to start taking in more animals that other people or shelters couldn’t work with. After moving from Tokyo to rural Chiba, she started focusing more on exotic animals and realized that her home had become a sanctuary for un-adoptable animals.
Mina (Founder) and Ella (Co-Founder)
Since what she had created was a small safe space for animals in a country notorious for their cruel exotic pet trade, it felt like an oasis in the desert. An Animal Oasis. She named it AnimO, started a social media presence, and established platforms for people to help with funding.
Since then, she has made contacts with rescuers in many animal-based industries, developed relationships with veterinarians, and routinely rehabilitates wild crows and other birds. When COVID happened in 2020, small pet cafes and pet shops started to close down and AnimO was inundated with exotic animals.
There are typically around 100 animals residing at the AnimO house. Some were rescued from horrific conditions, some from death row. Some came from shelters who didn’t have the ability to handle behavior issues, and many came from pet owners who didn’t understand what they were getting into.
The goal is to one day have a custom-made facility built with a focus on animal needs, with a paid staff to help AnimO accomplish even more!
About the founder, Mina
Mina moved to Japan from the UK as a teenager and built a life in Tokyo. She has always been an animal lover, but often struggled with human relationships and finding the right career path.
She lived many lives as a professional singer and performer, stuntman, choreographer, fighter, cook, and bartender before she found her true calling in animal care. The crucial decision was in 2019 when she packed up her city life and moved to the countryside of Chiba, to a place where she could better meet the needs of all the animals in her care.