From: The Balkanista
New Initiative to Help Stray Animals in Sarande

Shatervan Idesh, a group of expats and Albanians are kicking off a new initiative on the streets of Sarande. The plan is to raise money to train local vets and provide spaying and neutering services for stray animals in the southern city.

The ‘Trash Cats and Dumpster Dogs International Spay Neuter Initiative’ is bringing the concept of spaying street animals to a country that has a limited medical infrastructure in terms of veterinary care. Many Albanian owners do not know the importance of spaying and neutering their pets at home, let alone those that roam the streets.

In addition to this, there is a lack of funds for spaying street animals, nor are there any suitable clinics, as most of the vets in the area deal mainly with farm animals. But this new initiative plans to bring international vets to the country to train up local veterinarians as well as to provide funding for the vast number of strays in the area to be treated.

Another issue is the lack of humane traps. Unlike countries like Turkey which takes care of its strays and where the stray cats are extremely approachable and friendly to humans, most of the cats in Saranda are feral and skittish.  The group will have to build their own drop traps or find a nearby source to provide humane traps.

The group also carried out some research and have estimated that there are approximately 147 stray cats in the Sarande area. With almost all of these being un-spayed and unneutered, they have the capacity to breed quickly an extensively, further exacerbating the problem by significant contributing to the number of strays. 

The abundance of street animals leads to complaints by residents and some take matters into their own hands. In other parts of the country such as Durres and Tirana, the Bashkia have long been suspected of poisoning stray animals and dumping their bodies, but of course, they won’t own up to it.

Now that the count is completed the organisation is meeting with the local government and creating key stakeholder relationships.  Starting in the fall they will begin the initiative by providing free medical assessments and sterilization to owned cats and will start trapping later that year.

In order to protect these animals from similar fates, as well as to rehome some, and decrease the number of new generations, something needs to be done.

But it is not just training vets and neutering and sterilising animals that Shatervan Idesh wants to do. They also have a plan to engage and educate the community as to why it is necessary. Their first focus will be on owned cats- explaining why sterilisation is necessary as well as beneficial to the animal. Secondly they intend on providing animal welfare education to local schools to teach the youth about the importance of taking care of our furry friends.

Albania has no laws against animal cruelty, nor any to establish minimum levels of care, treatment, or living conditions, therefore education is necessary across the board to ensure that animal cruelty instances decrease.

To help raise funds for this brilliant initiative, the group are running a raffle and the prize is a seven night stay in the Grand Hotel, located right at the waters edge in beautiful Saranda. All you need to do is follow this link, buy a ticket for $1 (or as many as you want) and cross your fingers to hope you win. The lucky winner will get a seven night stay in the hotel, as well as the happiness and satisfaction that they have helped raise money for a wonderful cause. They can also go and meet some of the lovely cats and dogs that will benefit from the programme once it is fully up and running!