The plight of José and Júlio – two adult brothers living ‘rough’ under a ‘flyover’ bridge in Porto – has been highlighted on social media for the heartbreaking reason for their situation. It has everything to do with their three dogs, Bolinha, Paloma and Tita.
Social security personnel dealing with the men’s predicament have offered them the chance of a proper roof over their heads, but only on the proviso that they leave their pets at the municipal kennels.
Talking to reporters for Jornal de Notícias, Júlio explains simply: “It’s something we could never consider. We cannot imagine separating ourselves from the animals.
“Conclusion”, he continues. “We didn’t agree to abandon the animals and here we live, or perhaps survive, from day-to-day”.
It’s an interview done ‘anonymously’: the video carried online shows only the dogs and their owner’s legs, recording the sound of his voice as the traffic passes the jumble of possessions that has become a home.
Says Júlio, he and his brother are doing fine. They receive blankets from local residents, people pass by and offer hot meals.
“I am prepared to sacrifice myself like this”, he told the cameras. “I could not abandon”, particularly as he fears his favourite of the four-legged menagerie “may not live much longer” anyway.
And so the brothers eke out their lives under the viaduct of Avenida Panorámica in Campo Alegre as animal campaigners appeal for ‘someone in the northern region of the country to evaluate this situation and take it to the competent entities”.
Writing over Facebook, IRA – standing for Intervenção e Resgate Animal (animal intervention and recovery) – says: “we defend animals as well as those that love them. Look into this PORTUGAL”.