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Stray Animal Care Lithuania

A team of FOUR PAWS employees and volunteers have contined the stray animal project in Lithuania. A vet team of FOUR PAWS is in the capital of Lithuania, Vilnius, where the project has started in 2012. 

In Lithuania, hundreds of thousands of ownerless cats and dogs are living on the streets.
© Aneta Vaitkiene

Neutering of stray dogs and cats

For the next two weeks, FOUR PAWS in cooperation with a Lithuanian non-profit organization and the help of volunteers will catch stray dogs and cats in order to neuter, vaccinate and treat them in the animal clinic in the University for Veterinary Medicine of Vilnius. As soon as the animals recover from surgery they are released in their natural habitat. 

Training for local vets

FOUR PAWS is also going to focus on training for local veterinariens, who will continue neutering stray animals after the FOUR PAWS team has left Lithuania. Students of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine are also participating by receiving initiation courses and are granted a diploma at the end of the project phase.

More than 5,000 strays neutered

In the last years, the FOUR PAWS team has worked in Lithuania for three times neutering around 5,000 dogs and cats. 

The Stray Animal Care project in Lithuanian capital Vilnius was a great success. 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 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 treat local strays.

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.