Capital’s shameful animal welfare record



CATS AND dogs continue to be abandoned in alarming numbers in and around Lisbon, according to figures released recently to press agency Lusa by the Gabinete de Higiene Urbana e Resíduos Sólidos, the urban hygiene and solid waste department, of Lisbon Câmara.

This is in spite of a substantial awareness campaign mounted in the region by animal welfare organisation, Sociedade Protectora dos Animais (SPA), the society for the protection of animals. Over the last two years, in the city of Lisbon alone, 2,300 dogs and 2,727 cats were rounded up by municipal authorities (figures for 2005 to date are not available). During the year 2003, the top scoring months for dog collections were July (203) and December (104), with a total of 920 being removed from the streets over the 12 month period. In the same year, the Câmara collected 1,314 cats, with April being the record month with 172, followed by May with 162.

In 2004, the months that recorded the largest collections of abandoned dogs were January and July – the annual total being 812. Also last year, the capital saw the capture of 1,413 cats, with the highest scoring months being September and January.

The county of Oeiras has, on the other hand, collected a total of 366 dogs during 2003 and 2004. What about the cats? Well, here’s the clever bit. Oeiras operates a policy of rat control through the use of deloused and neutered cats.

But despite continuing campaigns on behalf of animal welfare groups, animals continue to be abandoned. Recently, José Barros, president of the Sociedade Protectora dos Animais (SPA), the society for the protection of animals, said that the main reason for the abandonment of pets seemed to be diseases.

He also said that the awareness campaign was being stepped up with the society making presentations at many institutions and at all levels from the University of Coimbra to the crèches, emphasising the responsibilities that go with keeping, looking after and cherishing pets.

Anyone wishing to report ill-treatment of animals or who wants to find out more about SPA, the Portuguese society for the protection of animals, can visit www.sp-animais.pt or telephone 218 482 532 or 933 423 866. SPA is located at Rua de S Paulo 55 – 2ºDto, 1200-426, Lisbon.