Home/Challenges/Creating an environmentally-friendly community for pets, pet parents and cities

Creating an environmentally-friendly community for pets, pet parents and cities

How might Mars contribute to developing pet-friendly communities in Lithuania?
Sustainable Cities and Communities; Clean Water and Sanitation
In progress

About the Challenge 

With thousands of pets living in cities, it is essential to ensure the suitability of the environment not only for the pets and their owners but also for the community. A large number of pets in the neighbourhood might be an issue for maintaining the environment clean since it is crucial to dispose of their waste appropriately. 

Two areas were distinguished that should be tackled:

1.     Responsible pet ownership:

  • Responsible and safe pet walking
  • Reducing the number of stray animals
  • Cleaning up after your pets

2.     Infrastructure and policy:

  • An appropriate waste management infrastructure (collection and processing)
  • Lack of policies to promote pet-friendly cities in order for more people to benefit from a living with a pet
  • Accessible and safe green spaces for pets

There are only a few sources that estimate the number of homeless pets in Lithuania. However, according to Lithuanian animal shelters, it is presumably more than 5 000 pets in shelters.

According to Statista, the dog population in Lithuania was measured at approximately 560 thousand, and the cat population – 600 thousand in 2020. According to Homeless Pet Population Estimates (Wellbeing International Ending Pet Homelessness Report 2020), in Lithuania there have been 14 005 stray dogs, 16 016 stray cats, 5 270 shelter dogs and cats in 2020.

Expected Impact

Cities, pets and pet owners thrive in sustainable communities where all pets in Lithuania are healthy, welcomed and secured. Animal Welfare Initiatives (NGOs) identify two issues related to people's attitudes toward pets:

  • Lack of knowledge about responsible pet ownership leads to the disappointment of the local community. Some owners walk their pets irresponsibly and do not collect the pet waste. This behaviour of irresponsible owners causes a negative reaction from the community since pet waste pollutes the environment or the area which is used by everyone. This sometimes leads to verbal conflict between neighbours or even extreme measures such as putting out poison in common areas for pets to eat. Such actions are usually fatal to the pet – the poison causes severe inflammation of the digestive organs, seizures, loss of fluids and eventually a painful death.
  • Another major issue is people's reluctance to register their pets. It is believed that people do not register their pets in order to avoid responsibility. For instance, if the dog bites a passer-by or runs into the street and causes an accident, these actions could result in significant financial burdens for the owner. If the pet is not registered, the owners avoid responsibility since the pet has no official owner. 

Learning Offering Details

Application Deadline: 24th September 2022 

Format: Online. The challenge will be solved in Kaunas, Lithuania, physical mobility is encouraged, but not mandatory.

Regarding mobility options, please consult your home university. You can find more information on the Practical information website or contact us via or

Study Plan:

Duration: 03/10 2022 – 23/12. The challenge will be solved in the module “Development of Challenge-Based Innovation” (6 ECTS), delivered by experienced teamchers of Kaunas University of Technology (Lithuania). Syllabus of the module.

Expected Class composition: 15 participants (students and lifelong learners)

Recongition: 6 ECTS. Transcript of records from Kaunas University of Technology, certificate from ECIU University. 

Learning goals:

Challenge-based learning approach, effective teamwork and leadership, interdisciplinary and intercultural communication, project management, critical analysis, creativity, competitiveness and pitching an idea, resilience to failure.