A CANINE-LOVING journalist has completed a six-week volunteer trip to Sri Lanka supporting street dogs.
Former Bullivant Media Group editor Laura Kearns is trustee of Lucas Helps Dogs – a small charity ran by three friends who organise spay, neuter and rabies vaccination clinics.
While in Sri Lanka they ran three clinics, which saw some 120 dogs sterilised and receive rabies vaccinations.
The team also rescued two abandoned puppies, provided skin treatments to nearly 90 animals, fed 70 street dogs and cats and funded chemotherapy treatment for eight dogs with cancer. They also fostered a dog and a disabled cat, and rehomed three dogs in the UK and two in Sri Lanka.
Laura said: “It was my fourth time in Sri Lanka and each time I go it’s doesn’t get any easier seeing the suffering on the streets. There are some 6million street dogs, many who are malnourished, disabled after being hit by cars or abused and suffering from deadly cancers and horrendous skin illnesses.
“Vet care is not readily available to street dogs and they rely on help from charities like ours.
“Our clinics saw us protect these animals against rabies and having puppies, but also do the very glamorous work of removing thousands of ticks, cleaning maggot wounds and treating uncomfortable skin conditions.
“There’s still so much more we need to do and the work hasn’t stopped since we got home.”
Since returning the charity has agreed to support a private local shelter for abused and disabled animals but received no vet care.
It is also sponsoring the sterilisation of three dogs a month belonging to low-income families. Each dog costs around £20 to spay, neuter and vaccinate.
Laura – who has a Sri Lankan street dog named Kandy who she rescued and brought to the UK – added: “We were informed about a man who has turned his property into a shelter for injured dogs. None of them were sterilised and the house and garden was basically a building site, with a makeshift fence the animals escaped through.
“We agreed to fund sterilisation and medical care for these dogs, and to install a new fence. This is so important as recently one disabled dog died after suffocating when he tried to escape.
“We’ve also agreed to treat all the street dogs around the shelter to protect the community.
“We really need donations for this project, and monthly donors who would cover the cost of one of the dogs belonging to low-income families. In Sri Lanka these dogs have owners who watch over them but still live on the streets.” The charity trustees spend nearly every weekend travelling across the country to attend fairs where they sell handmade collars and leads to raise money.
They also take collars and leads to Sri Lanka and hand them out to dog owners, who would otherwise use rope or wire.
Laura added: “Some of the injuries we have seen from collars embedded in the skin and even some made from barbed wire have been horrendous.
“We’re looking at returning to Sri Lanka later this year but until then will continue from here working to improve the lives of its millions of street dogs, who are just the best. So many of them just want love and affection and its heart-breaking to see so many puppies born and die at the side of the roads, which is why we try and stop more being born into a life of misery.”
Visit www.lucashelpsdogs.com to support the charity and for further details.