Edition 1450
18 November 2017
Edition: 1450

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Crisis leads to more animal abandonment

in News · 26-07-2012 16:36:00 · 5 Comments

Thousands of pets are being abandoned across Portugal, either being dumped at the gates of charitable associations or simply taken far from home and left behind, as owners struggle to make ends meet due to the continuing financial crisis.

Figures released by the National Veterinary Authority, Direção Geral de Alimentação e Veterinária, show that in the Lisbon area alone, a total of 5,629 stray cats and dogs were caught last year, up from the 4,442 caught in 2010.
Data for this year is not yet available, but signs are that this problem is not only continuing but also on the increase, everywhere, especially in the Portuguese capital.
Adding to the problem is the fact that Lisbon's municipal kennel is not collecting stray animals and is currently closed for refurbishment work but has no date for reopening, Lisbon's urban environment councillor, José Sá Fernandes told Expresso newspaper this week.
Animal associations around the capital are also struggling to make ends meet and pay the expenses of looking after other people's unwanted animals as the number of paid members has fallen, along with the number of animal adoptions.
Association SOSAnimal, which has its headquarters in Caparide told Expresso that it receives "30 to 40 requests for help every week," describing this past year as "critical".
Added to the age old reasons for abandoning animals in Portugal, such as allergies, summer holidays or divorce, is now the lack of money and the increasing migration of families abroad in search of jobs and better living conditions.
Sintra-based animal association Associação São Francisco de Assis currently houses between 350 and 400 animals.
Speaking to Expresso, one of the coordinators of the association, Maria João Pulido, laments the "reasonable" percentage of animals that are returned by adoptive families after a short time, which adds to their problems of lack of space and ability to pay the running costs.
A significant number of pets are also abandoned at veterinary clinics. As money becomes tight in family households, many owners stop treating or vaccinating their animals, while others simply forget to pick them up from the vet.
With no sign of the financial crisis easing up in Portugal, it appears that there is no quick solution to this problem, although the governing body for veterinarians, Ordem dos Médicos Veterinários, is thinking of a legal way to improve the situation. Their problem is that many vets have to "get rid" of the animals that have been left behind, with often no legal way of doing so.

Comments

This is ridiculous, people abandoning animals due to a crisis. I'm sorry but it's no justification, that's an animal we are speaking about not a toy hamster they have thoughts and feelings, desires just like we do as a human being. They don't abandon you when we're going through a crisis so why should we abandon them?

Furthermore, it's not simply about the financial crisis, it's about the race of the dog too. The plurality of them are mutts, and I'm sorry but if Portugal's government were stricter in regards to animal laws (fining all who abandoned their dogs, imposing it as a crime) people would think twice about abandoning dogs. It pains me to see the amount of abandoned dogs in a so called 'developed' country, a humiliating factor.
by Nyse from UK on 27-11-2016 09:53:00
Apparently, this has been a problem in Portugal for a long time as I remember the great number of strays when I first went back to my homeland in 1975.

I would expect to see this in Third World countries not in Portugal. I've always believe Portuguese to have big hearts and to be caring people but no longer after having witnessed the callousness with which they treat their strays.

by Rosa from Other on 14-02-2014 09:01:00
Apparently, this has been a problem in Portugal for a long time as I remember the great number of strays when I first went back to my homeland in 1975.

I would expect to see this in Third World countries not in Portugal. I've always believe Portuguese to have big hearts and to be caring people but no longer after having witnessed the callousness with which they treat their strays.

by Rosa from Other on 14-02-2014 09:00:00
I run Friends of Bianca (www.friendsofbianca.org) a Scottish based charity that helps Bianca Associacao of Sesimbra, near Lisbon. I have just returned from visiting the shelter and saw first hand how serious the situation is. However, I also saw the wonderful work of the likes of Bianca volunteers without whom many animals would die from starvation or from treatable diseases
by Mike Gibb from UK on 01-08-2012 12:50:00
This breaks my heart, poor animals to be left like this, there must be a better way then to just "get rid" of them... What can people do to help, have any of the organizations mentioned volunteers, donation (time or money is available) what about donations from other shelters, organizations, countries.... There is a very successful volunteered shelter that operates here in Chicago, people come to walk, drop off food, take care of, foster the animals, best it is a no kill shelter, "Paws of Chicago", hopefully then can reach out to see the way their programs are setup... <3 Can you update this article if there is any more information thanks.
by Paulina from USA on 31-07-2012 09:04:00

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Edition 1450
18 November 2017
Edition: 1450

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

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