Can you help animals in Omaha’s Sister City?

By on November 12, 2015

Here in Omaha, animals are lucky to have great shelters. Animals elsewhere don’t get the same amenities, care or consideration.

For example, the Siauliai Animal Welfare Society in Omaha’s Lithuanian sister city, Siauliai, is a much different facility that anything one can find here. It’s heart is just as big as any shelter’s here, but the resources are just not available. Culture and custom is different, sentiments and opportunity is too. Read about the shelter below and be sure shop Long Dog Fat Cat on Nov. 14 to help raise funds for the animals in Omaha’s sister city.

About the shelter: The shelter is in an old Soviet military warehouse. In the winter, all rooms are heated by burning wood. Dogs have 7 kennels inside and 17 outside. Cats have 17 kennels inside and 4 fenced areas outside. Dogs have 3 fenced play yards. Most dogs live in kennels outside without heat. There is not much staff- usually three regular people and volunteers. Regular staff cooks for dogs and cats everyday on a stove. The staff also exercises and plays with them and cleans the animal cages. The shelter gets food donations from local pet food stores, but not all the time. The staff of the shelter sterilizes or neuters and treats injured or sick dogs and cats. The shelter posts pictures of homeless animals online and try to find new owners. The shelter staff also goes to schools and raises awareness for the homeless animal population. It also takes care of horses and cows from starvation and negligence. Even frozen swans are cared for by the shelter.

On November 14, an Omaha Fundraiser for the Animal Welfare Society in Omaha’s Sister-City Šiauliai will be hosted by Gediminas Murauskas and Indrė Seibutytė of ‘Long Dog Fat Cat’, the first and largest natural pet food store in Omaha. The fundraiser will be held in collaboration with the ‘Omaha Friends of Siauliai’ (OFŠ) committee of the Omaha Sister Cities Association (OSCA). All net profit accrued from in-store sales will be donated to the Šiauliai Animal Welfare Society to help support the purchase of pet food for animals residing at the shelter during the forthcoming winter months.



Omaha-area pet owners and friends are kindly encouraged to shop at both ‘Long Dog Fat Cat’ locations (16909 Burke St, Omaha, NE 68118 (Phone 402- 933-1123) and  2501 S 90th St, Omaha NE 68124 (Ph 402-991-1124) on Saturday, November 14th, 2015. Your purchases on this day will make a big difference at the Šiauliai Animal Welfare Society!

Why are we lending support to the Šiauliai Animal Welfare Society? First, the Šiauliai Animal Welfare Society is a not-for-profit organization that receives only limited support from local government and the Šiauliai community of dedicated volunteers and generous supporters. According to the laws of the land, local governments provide funding to local animal welfare organizations to sustain homeless or sheltered animals for only two weeks upon the surrender of a given animal at a shelter. Upon the passage of these initial two weeks at the local shelter, the implied expectation is the euthanization of the animal. According to Birutė Vaičiulevičienė, Director of the Šiauliai Animal Welfare Society, over 95% of animals residing at the shelter – until they can be welcomed into a caring home – are sustained at the shelter for extended periods well over two weeks in duration. Animals that are not sustained beyond the two-week local-government-funding period are typically animals that are severely injured or very sick, and euthanization is deemed the most humane course of action.

It takes generous and dedicated supporters to help nourish and sustain animals at the Šiauliai Animal Welfare Society beyond the standard two-week ‘grace period’. And a higher volume of financial donations is typically required during the winter months – when the surrender and abandonment rate for pets and animals typically reaches a seasonal peak. Second, while surrendered animals and pets are well taken care of – with dignity and respect at the Šiauliai Animal Welfare Society, the facility currently used as the local animal shelter is a conversion from a former commercial facility – very minimal and basic, not nearly as well developed as the current facilities at, for example, the Nebraska Humane Society in Omaha. Indeed, this is one of the legacies of 50 years of Soviet occupation and administration (which ended in just 1991). Institutions and facilities for the care of abandoned / surrendered animals and pets simply did not exist during Soviet times. The first animal care shelter in Šiauliai was established in 1929 and flourished during the period of inter-war Lithuanian independence, but this institution ceased to exist during the Second World War. While the Šiauliai Animal Welfare Society, has come a long way since it was re-established in 2000, financial support from generous donors is always needed and greatly appreciated. Most recently in May of 2013, OSCA-OFŠ committee members Gediminas Murauskas and Indrė Seibutytė visited and toured at the Šiauliai Animal Welfare Society, and met with Director Birutė Vaičiulevičienė to discuss ways in which they could possibly gain assistance from its sister-city, Omaha, Nebraska. Of course, the Šiauliai Animal Welfare Society kindly and respectfully appreciates any and all support from the Omaha community. Please help in making a positive difference at the Animal Welfare Society in sister-city Šiauliai, Lithuania, by shopping at both ‘Long Dog Fat Cat’ stores on Saturday, November 14, 2015. Thanks to the Omaha community in advance for your generous support!!!


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