Whiteley woman plans Sri Lanka trip to help stray dog population

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A head chef from Whiteley is planning to open a vet clinic in Sri Lanka and provide medical treatment for the stray dog population.

Lucas Helps Dogs trustee Tereza Oharkova, 36, decided to take action after visiting the country in 2019 and feeling ‘devastated’ by the welfare of the animals.

Tereza said: ‘Every day dogs are born into a life of misery on the dangerous roads, where drivers aim for them, disease is rife and food and water is scarce.’

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Tereza Oharkova with stray dogs in Sri LankaTereza Oharkova with stray dogs in Sri Lanka
Tereza Oharkova with stray dogs in Sri Lanka

‘While the charity pays for emergency treatment to help injured and disabled dogs, we really want to help the situation overall so are determined to spay and neuter as many street dogs as possible.’

‘Rabies is also prevalent over there, with children and dogs dying of the disease in recent months, so we ensure every dog we treat is given a rabies vaccination.’

Alongside providing medical treatment, Lucas Helps Dogs ‘aims to educate locals in animal welfare’ and carried out their first clinic in January, treating 50 dogs in the town of Ella. In 2022, the charity has funded eight emergency treatments, 49 spay and neuter operations and 60 rabies vaccinations.

Hope, a street dog in Sri LankaHope, a street dog in Sri Lanka
Hope, a street dog in Sri Lanka

With an estimated 6 million stray dogs on the island, the charity had planned to treat 500 during their next trip in January 2023, but increased costs have meant that this goal was lowered to 250. Tereza is asking people to donate towards more treatments ahead of the trip.

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Tereza added: ‘We have spent nearly every weekend at festivals and fairs up and down the country raising awareness about what we do and the plight of street dogs in Sri Lanka.

‘It’s devastating after working so hard all year that we might not reach our target, and now we are desperately trying to raise as much money as we can.

‘The cost of neutering and vaccinating one street dog is now around £25 but it is the only way to reduce the number of dogs on the street and more being born into a life of misery.

The team also plans to take over an existing Sri Lankan animal shelter during their six week stay to care for its 100 disabled dogs and cats and give respite to volunteers.

More information is available at www.lucashelpsdogs.com.

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