Animal charity and Albania lock swords over 3 lions

An international animal welfare charity is locked in a spat with the Albanian government over three lions destined for a sanctuary in the Netherlands.

The Four Paws says the lions require proper medical care but remain caged in Albania due to Tirana's "bureaucratic arbitrariness." However, the government says its hands are tied by a lawsuit.

The lions were among 11 animals seized by authorities from a private zoo last October due to fears they were malnourished.

The zoo's owner sued, but despite the lawsuit the government earlier this month sent to Germany a bear that was confiscated.

Four Paws says Thursday the government is now arguing the lions cannot be sent to the Netherlands because of the lawsuit.

The Environment Ministry, which is overseeing the matter, has made no comment.