Over the course of 2016, the GNR police’s SEPNA animal and environment protection bureau registered 767 cases of animal abuse.
The number translates to an average of two crimes per day last year, and 112 more cases compared to 2015.
This is according to latest figures from the GNR police, which showed that, on the other hand, the number of complaints being made fell.
In 2016 there were 3,694 complaints, or an average of ten per day and 116 fewer complaints compared to 2015.
Data made available by the GNR further shows that the month of March saw the greatest number of complaints being made, with 374 people reporting mistreatment of animals, followed by February 2016 (366) and January (361).
District-wise, Lisbon, Setubal and Porto saw the greatest number of situations being denounced.
The GNR’s SEPNA branch is responsible for investigating reports of animal abuse, while a new law criminalising the mistreatment of animals came into effect on 1 October 2014.
Under the new law, “anyone who, without legitimate reason, inflicts pain, suffering, or any other type of mistreatment of a pet, is punishable with up to one year in prison or a 120-day fine.”
The penalties can be aggravated should the animal die from or be incapacitated by its mistreatment.
The law further foresees that anyone who abandons an animal can also be punished with up to six months in prison, or a 60-day fine.
Cases of animal abuse can be reported to the GNR via the SOS Ambiente e Território phoneline (808200520), or via the GNR’s website: www.gnr.pt.