Chained dogs

Ask Afpop
In this new monthly column, afpop, Portugal’s largest foreign residents’ association, aims to answer some of the most frequently-asked questions by members.

Question: One of our neighbours chains their dog up in their yard while they are out, and it barks all the time it is chained up.
I was told that it’s illegal to chain up dogs like that. Is it?

afpop answers: Unfortunately, and perhaps contrary to popular belief, the chaining up of dogs is not itself directly prohibited under Portuguese animal protection legislation. However, the situation of animals in chains may constitute a violation of one or more of the provisions of Decree-Law 276/2001 of October 17 (as amended by Decree-Law 315/2003 of December 17), if it does not allow freedom of movement and physical exercise and constitutes a potential danger of hanging.

The law states that pets must have adequate space for their physiological and ethological (natural) needs; the ability to take adequate physical exercise and have a refuge with comfort and wellbeing where they can shelter from adverse weather conditions and possible aggressions of other species.

As to the issue of the constant barking, barking dogs in Portugal is considered noise from neighbours (providing if it is not wild dogs, of course) and it is covered under the Portuguese noise law (Regulamento Geral de Ruído, e Ruído de Vizinhança) and the authorities responsible to deal with complaints from noise from neighbours are the local GNR.

Article 24 of the regulations states:

Neighbourhood noise
1. The police authorities may order the producer of neighbourhood noise, produced between 11pm and 7am, to cease and may adopt the appropriate measures to bring the (noise) discomfort to an immediate end.

2. The police authorities may determine to the producer of neighbourhood noise, produced between 7am and 11pm, a deadline to stop the disturbance.

So, to answer the question: it is not against the law to chain the dog but may be a contravention of the law if the chains restrict the animal’s welfare or constitute a potential threat to it. The barking can be referred to the police (GNR) as neighbourhood nuisance, who may also assess whether the dog is being chained in contravention of the law.

For more information about the Benefits of Membership of afpop, the largest Association for Foreign Residents in Portugal, you can visit their website; e-mail them direct on or call the afpop office on 282 458 509 (t/m 938 252 100). Please remember to quote THE ALGARVE RESIDENT when contacting them.