A PET hotel, which will also be used as an animal refuge for cats and dogs, has recently opened in Tavira. The centre hopes to resolve the problems of holidaymakers who need a place to leave their animals when they come to visit the Algarve.
The animal refuge, called Refúgio Animalar e Hotel da Bicharada, is located between Senhora da Saúde and Fonte Salgada, alongside the station in the parish of Santa Maria. The centre is managed by the Sociedade Protectora dos Animais (SPA), a century old public entity dedicated to the welfare of animals in Portugal.
In a recent interview with the Barlavento newspaper, the president of SPA, Tomé de Barros Queiroz, explained that “the centre has been set up to try to prevent cats and dogs being abandoned”, as it provides owners who wish to spend their holidays in the region with a clean, comfortable and secure place to leave their pet, where they can visit it whenever they like.
SPA’s idea is to open three centres of this type throughout the country. “The Algarve was, however, the first region to be offered such a centre because Tavira Câmara speedily allocated a nine hectare piece of land to accommodate the project and was very receptive to the idea,” explained Barros Queiroz.
For the convenience of the owners and animals, pets can be picked up anywhere in the Algarve and delivered to the hotel, using special transport, which costs from five euros. Anyone can use the new centre, however, special prices are offered to SPA members, who are also given discounts at the clinic and at the in-patient section – both of which are also open to pets of the general public.
However, this is only the first stage of the project as the centre aims to expand in the future to deal with abandoned animals. “The second stage can only begin after the centre has become established and when some income has been generated to allow us to support the costs associated with caring for abandoned or maltreated animals,” explained the SPA president.
“Normally, an animal which has been abandoned is almost always an animal with problems and, therefore, it is necessary to place it in quarantine and provide it with the necessary veterinary assistance and dietary support. When we collect an abandoned animal, it will be our intention, at a later stage, to provide it with a home and an owner, but all of this implies costs,” he said.
The Vila Galé hotel group has pledged to support the refuge and will provide leftover food for abandoned animals, but a responsible person to manage the care initiative on a long-term basis is apparently yet to be found.
According to SPA, the new pet hotel in Tavira, which represents an investment of 58,000 euros, offers 28 individual pens, as well as 24 units with a capacity for four animals each. There are also four enclosures for quarantine purposes.
For further information, call Tavira Câmara on 281 320 500, the Sociedade Protectora dos Animais on 213 423 851 or visit www.sp-animais.pt