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Journalist to spend six weeks helping Sri Lankan street dogs

A regional journalist is to spend six weeks in Sri Lanka improving the lives of street dogs after becoming trustee of an animal charity.

Harborough Mail reporter Laura Kearns will fly to the Asian country to undertake a mass spay, neuter and rabies vaccination clinic as part of her work with Lucas Helps Dogs.

HTFP previously reported in 2019 how Laura had raised thousands of pounds to save a Sri Lankan dog injured in a machete attack.

She later rehomed the dog, which she named Kandy after the city in which the Sinhalese Hound lived.

Laura Kearns with Kandy

Laura Kearns with Kandy

Laura, who also edits lifestyle title Muddy Stilettos Warwickshire, told HTFP: “Sri Lanka is such a beautiful country but I was left devastated by the number of street dogs, many injured and some even dead.

“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.

“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.”

Laura, 34, runs the charity alongside two friends and in January they carried out their first spay, neuter and vaccination clinic in a part of the island called Ella.

They funded the treatment of 50 animals and an emergency treatment for one dog who had an exposed bone in his paw.

Since returning home they have spent nearly every weekend fundraising at local fairs by selling handmade items like leads, collars, bracelets and dog treats.

They have also continued to support dog rescuers in the country by paying for eight emergency treatments, medication, 60 rabies vaccinations, helping rehome Sri Lankan dogs to a new life abroad.

And while they had planned to carry out a clinic for 500 dogs when they visit the country in January 2023, the economic crisis has sent costs soaring and means they will have enough for only half that number.

While in Sri Lanka, Laura and the team will also be taking over running a small shelter which is home to nearly 100 disabled dogs and cats in order to give its team of volunteers a much-needed break.

Laura said: “We completely fund transport, travel and all other costs ourselves and ensure all the money we raise goes to helping the dogs.

“We’ll be volunteering in Sri Lankan shelters and carrying out checks on dogs along the road who otherwise get no medical care. Our main reason for visiting though is to carry out a mass spay and neuter clinic in Ella to try and keep the dog population down following our work last year.

“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.

“While we have done amazingly well, the vet bills in Sri Lanka have nearly doubled due to petrol and medication costs which has vastly reduced the number of dogs we can treat.

“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.”

She added: “There’s very few animal lovers in Sri Lanka and the ones who do care for them really do have their work cut out.

“We are doing our best to help as much as we can, and appreciate any support to continue our work changing the lives of Sri Lankan street dogs.”

To donate to Laura’s cause, click here.