Kyung Lah and Whitney Hurst
Tokyo (CNN) - The image was horrific: A whimpering beagle, ribs showing through its fur, tethered to a post inside the no-go zone around the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.
The scene was captured by freelance journalists who drove through towns within a few kilometers of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, and who left food for the animal. But animal rescue activists who have braved the exclusion zone around the plant say there many others like it.
"I understand the nuclear danger and everything, but they're just being left to starve to death, basically," said Isabella Gallaon-Aoki of Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support.
Gallaon-Aoki and others like her have been slipping into the 20-km radius around Fukushima Daiichi to retrieve pets and feed livestock left behind when their owners were forced to evacuate. Pet owners have sent her group their addresses, accompanied by pleas to rescue their animals, left behind when they fled for what was supposed to be a short time.
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