Authorities to clamp down on stray dogs

By DAISY SAMPSON [email protected]

An Algarve council has promised to take action over a pack of up to 20 stray dogs that have bitten several people and attacked and killed animals.

Strays are a common sight in many towns and villages across the region and are generally tolerated, but Ferragudo in the Lagoa municipality has decided that a pack of dogs has become such a nuisance that it has to take action.

Ferragudo parish council president Luís Alberto told the Algarve Resident: “There are between 15 and 20 dogs that run in a pack in the Ferragudo area.  So far these dogs have bitten two or three people near the Lidl shopping centre and killed 40 chickens by the old factory. They have also killed fish in the central canal.”

Luís Alberto confirmed that one of the people who had been bitten by the dogs was a Câmara employee and the local authorities had received “several” complaints about the dogs.

“Complaints have been received by the GNR, the Câmara and us at the Junta de Freguesia,” said Luís Alberto.

The dogs in question, which congregate in all areas of the town, including the popular beach next to the castle and the fishing docks, are being fed by people in the area, believes Luís Alberto, which has led to them remaining in the area in such large numbers.

Local artist Sylvain Bongard has his atelier in Ferragudo and watches the dogs from his home.

“I believe that sometimes people who stay in the caravans in the area feed the dogs and perhaps the fishermen too.”

The dogs have been described as large and quite intimidating by residents in the fishing town, although they have never appeared to be troublesome in the past, said Ferragudo resident Janet Ballington.

She told the Algarve Resident: “When I first saw the dogs, I was wary, but they have never caused me or my dog any problems. To be honest, the dogs are quite big and when you are faced with between nine and 12 of them, it can be very scary but they have never caused us any problems.”

Although the dogs are seen as a pest by the authorities, other members of the community have come to enjoy the stray animals.

Sylvain Bongard said: “I know of people who come and photograph the dogs. They are interesting to watch because they are existing outside society in their own clans and groups, but it does astonish me that they have not been rounded up by the authorities.”

Janet Ballington added: “The dogs are actually quite amusing as they often try to catch fish in the canal that runs through the centre of the village.”

A meeting to address the problem of the dogs is to be held at a date yet to be confirmed.

 Luís Alberto said: “None of these dogs have owners so ideally we would like to see them re-homed, however it is more likely that they will be sent to the kennels.”

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