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Reducing pet population

Every year, thousands of stray animals in Lithuania are captured and destroyed by animal control agencies for the sole reason of overpopulation and inability to trace back their owners. In our work, we are committed to reaching a goal of zero homeless animal population and we see spaying/neutering, the promotion of microchipping and other population reduction measures as primary means of achieving it.

Spaying/neutering helps:

• reduce the numbers of animal abandonment cases

Our experience reveals that the numbers of surrendered cats and dogs dramatically increase during Spring breeding season when owners become overwhelmed by unplanned pregnancies and the offspring of their female pets. They often have no idea what to do with the litter and, since the existing supply of adoptable animals is always greater than the demand, the animals often end up being just thrown out on the street. Oftentimes the ones refused are the mothers while the owners take one of their offspring as a pet instead, thus wanting to get rid of the "source of procreation" and hoping to resolve the issue once and for all.

Another big problem is that people keeping male pets often act irresponsibly by allowing them roam freely, breeding with homeless/stray females. These owners mistakenly believe that, since their pets cannot produce offspring, they are safe and do not require any extra care during the breeding season. However, not only these animals contribute to homeless overpopulation problem but also, through contact with homeless peers, risk contracting various diseases and/or being hurt in turf fights, after which the owners that are unwilling or financially unable to care for them just throw them out as well.

In order to prevent this from happening, we distribute educational materials on the importance and benefits of spaying/neutering, advertise them in the media and, together with our veterinary care partners, offer special deals on pet spaying/neutering services at participating clinics several times a year, trying to continuously raise awareness and sense of responsibility of pet owners in every imaginable way.

• control and reduce stray animal population

According to our daily assistance requests, the biggest problem in Lithuania in terms of animal homelessness is a widespread population of stray homeless cats. We strongly believe that the only way to permanently resolve it is our "Trap-Neuter-Release" program, which represents the only humane way of reducing stray and feral cat population without overcrowding shelters and condemning the "rescued" animals to either euthanasia or lifetime imprisonment in a shelter.

We apply the "Trap-Neuter-Release" approach to the healthy animals that were strays all their lives - those that were born and bred on the street and, due to their temper and lack of interaction with humans, would find it impossible to adapt to the new life as pets. We believe that, with time, the program will help decrease the stray cats population substantially and in a natural way as whenever one of these cats dies there will be no offspring to take over their place.

The main reasons for implementing the "Trap-Neuter-Release" program are the following:
• There is no sufficient manpower to be able to capture all stray/feral cats before each breeding season;
• We are bound by space constraints that would not allow us to properly care for all captured cats without resorting to euthanasia;
• There is no sufficient funds to provide the care and lifetime upkeep for all captured cats.

Registration and Microchipping

Proper pet registration and microchipping helps protect the animals from abandonment as the owners of such animals can be traced back and prosecuted by law. Currently, registration and microchipping services are available in some cities in Lithuania. Unfortunately, their usefulness notwithstanding, these practices are not encouraged and advertised enough. Moreover, pet owners are usually averse to liability for fees that would start accruing upon formal registration of ownership and identification of their animal companions.

The registration alone also does not entail obligation to regularly vaccinate pets. Therefore, while working closely with local government agencies, we seek to negotiate complete elimination of monthly fees for pet ownership. We also emphasize the importance of pet identification in our educational seminars as well as in any media events.