Edition 1479
16 June 2018
Edition: 1479

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Municipal kennels destroy 12,000 animals in 2017

in News · 31-05-2018 13:58:00 · 0 Comments

From September this year, euthanasia is to be made illegal in municipal kennels as a form of controlling stray cats and dogs, although the government could extend that deadline as most council shelters, according to a report by newspaper Público, have not yet undergone the work necessary to do away with population control, and 31 municipalities don’t even have kennels.

Municipal kennels destroy 12,000 animals in 2017

Last year, the equivalent of one animal an hour was put down in Portugal’s kennels.
In 2016, the government gave the country’s municipal shelters two years to make the necessary adjustments to do away with euthanasia, by enlarging or improving them.
However, the September deadline could be extended and healthy animals could still be put down due to overcrowding instead of being channelled into adoption, which has triggered criticism.
Marisa Quaresma dos Reis, Lisbon’s ombudswoman for animals, has slammed the “passivity” of local authorities regarding the matter, and the government’s perceived “negligence”.
Only last month, two months away from the deadline, did the government free up a one million euro financial incentive to be plunged into modernising local kennels, which fell far short of the two million euros it had originally announced.
On top of that, only half of a €500,000 budget that had been made available for kennels to adopt sterilisation campaigns also failed to muster much interest and only €134,000 of the budget was spent.
“There are more humane alternatives than continuing to kill them,” the ombudswoman says, highlighting the example of Istanbul, where locals take care of the dogs that live on the street.
“They are vaccinated and treated and there are automatic, coin-operated cash dispensers”, she explains.
The two state secretaries who were summoned to an Environment Committee last March to provide explanations on the matter, failed to say how they would resolve the issue, despite Members’ questions.
According to an official report from last September, there were 102 councils in 2016 whose kennels were overcrowded.
Of those, only 41 said they expected to have modernisation works completed “in the next two years”.
According to PAN, the Party for People, Animals and Nature, which carried out a national survey, 23 percent of Portuguese municipalities still kill healthy dogs and cats.
The party is also opposed to a possible postponement of the ban on euthanasia: “The solution is to put pressure on the municipalities, which have been obliged, since 1925, for almost a hundred years, to have shelters”, says lawyer Cristina Rodrigues, who suggested the outsourcing of services could be a possible path forwards.
The head of the National Association of Municipal Vets, Vera Ramalho, added “Generally speaking, councils are not ready”.
And, she said, the association warned the Government in 2016 that “we are trying to hurry along what it took other countries 20 or 30 years to do”, referring to the adoption of sterilisation campaigns to control stray animal populations in full lieu of euthanasia.
If euthanasia does become banned from September, Ms. Ramalho says she predicts local populations will be shocked by the rise in the number of stray animals on streets.
According to data from the Directorate-General for Veterinary Medicine, in 2016, 28,600 animals were taken in by kennels and 8,200 were left out due to lack of space.
Last year, the number of animals taken in rose to 40,674.
Regarding euthanasia, the number of animals put to sleep also increased by close to 25 percent: from 9,462 in 2016, to 11,819 in 2017.
Last year only 16,144 of the nearly 41,000 cats or dogs taken in by the kennels were lucky enough to be adopted.
And, Vera Ramalho believes, it raises another question: “Is it more inhumane to be euthanised or to be in a cage for ten years?”

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Edition 1479
16 June 2018
Edition: 1479

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

Twitter