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Stray Animal Care in Lithuania

The Stray Animal Care project that started in Lithuanian capital Vilnius on August 1, has come to a successful end. The month-long project included six FOUR PAWS team members that were on occasion assisted by local veterinarians and resulted in an impressive 912 animals treated. 743 cats, 169 dogs – and even a ferret – were spayed, vaccinated, and often received further medical care. As usual, the dealings with Lithuanian officials and organisations were very satisfactory and supportive.

Among the many animals that the FOUR PAWS vets grew attached to, was a rather exotic guest: a ferret. Popular as companion animals in Lithuania, they also get abandoned frequently and rarely can adjust to the difficult living conditions on the street. This adorable female received the name Vesta and stayed with the team for a while. In addition to the work in Vilnius, a small unit also returned to the coastal town of KlaipÄ—da, in order to resume the efforts started earlier this year.

Efficient aid for cats and dogs

On a larger scale, the focus of the work remained on cats this time around – there are large numbers of them in Lithuania, also migrating from neighbouring Latvia, and they often are even more susceptible to illnesses than dogs, which is why the array of medical interventions was particularly diverse during this project: first aid treatments, the removal of tumours, hernia surgeries and even a dystocia emergency kept the skillful vets busy through August. In spite of forty operations and extended treatments, the SAC team worked extremely fast, 320 animals were neutered in the first week alone.

The now annual expert conventions are organised by FOUR PAWS and were the basis for the biggest political breakthrough so far, opening the door for an all-European strategy to cope with the overpopulation of stray dogs humanely. At the first day of this new visit, the Stray Animal Care team has neutered 47 animals: 28 dogs and 19 cats.

In May 2011, when the conference took place, a SAC team had worked in the EU-country for the first time, with over 500 animals treated in the capital Vilnius and the port city KlaipÄ—da. The dedicated involvement of Lithuanian politicians had lead to strong ties with the FOUR PAWS delegation, which the new project is destined to deepen. Particularly after recent setbacks for Stray Animal Care in Romania, the professional and committed approach by Lithuanian ministers and members of Parliament has fueled the important mission with new energy and will make it possible to focus on the roots of the stray animal issue.