We'd like to dedicate this page to the legal aspects and what we as individuals can do, to improve the lot of stray, neglected, abused, chained/confined and abandoned dogs.
Very often, people don't know what to do when they come across a situation obviously fitting into the categories described above and we'd like to offer some advice.
Chained Dogs - we're attaching an A4 pamphlet in both English and Portuguese, about the exceptionally cruel practice of chaining/confining dogs. The damage that is done to the animal's mental and emotional state has been categorised as severe. Just imagine the suffering.... not one day of joy!
Click on the appropriate link for the Portuguese, or English versions. Please distribute these leaflets whenever you possibly can. Where you see a dog chained, try to leave a leaflet close by for the owner.
There quite a bit of information on the Safe Communities site, in English relating to the laws around the animal cruelty laws in Portugal. In October 2014, Portugal introduced new laws making the mistreatment or abandonment of pets a crime included in the Portuguese Penal Code. These crimes have become punishable with hefty fines or prison sentences.
SEPNA is a special unit of the GNR dedicated to the protection of the environment and the enforcement of associated laws, including cruelty to animals. You can contact SEPNA on 291 214 460, or 962 096 247. Their email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Although it's not ideal to have to confine your pet to a balcony, there are many places in the world where there is little choice because most people have to work and up to 50% of the population lives in apartments. The alternative to disallowing pets to spend alone time on a balcony is even more stray animals, without homes. If pets have food, water and shelter it's probably more cruel to relegate them to a shelter than to just leave them there. In a perfect world, no pet would be left alone at all, during the day. Additionally, the law differs from country to country and in many cases, as long as it's not permanent, animals can be left outisde. Most important is that animals are nourished, protected, walked and loved.
Dogs spotted running loose in the streets in Portugal's towns and villages..... this is another area where people obviously become upset by seeing what seems to be a stray pet. In many countries, people are happy (.... and it's legal) to allow their dogs to roam outside of their gates...... "latchkey dogs". Of course, there are many countries where this is punishable by law and folk are horrified to see dogs let loose in the streets. Given that this seems to be an accepted practice in Portugal, we would encourage people to be very careful about picking up these dogs and committing them to a shelter. Again, although it's not an ideal solution, could we respectfully suggest that if a dog looks well-fed, in good condition and especially, with any type of collar... please leave it where it is.