The husband of a Comporta restaurant owner has been been found guilty, in his absence, of burying a sick Husky alive in land behind his wife’s Barco do Sado eaterie.
According to Público, the court heard how the 53-year-old man “dug a shallow grave, and placed” Big – a Husky suffering from heartworm – “into it alive”.
To ensure the animal could not move, he “placed an iron grille (on top of her) and a block of cement”.
He then left her without food or water, to “howl in pain and affliction” for days, said the paper.
Alerted to the situation, animal rights group Focinhos went to the restaurant, in the area known as Carrasqueira, to find Big “lying in a pool of mud, practically without reaction”.
Said the sentence: “The animal was prostrate without being able to move, in an extreme state of emaciation”.
Focinha’s founder Teresa Campos described Big as looking like “an old rag”. The vet who tried to save her said she had “never seen a worse case” of animal neglect.
Says Público, the female judge presiding ruled that “the builder’s treatment towards the animal shows a deformity of his own personality.
“Instead of giving her care and nutrition, he treated the animal cruelly with the clear purpose of causing injuries, pain and suffering by totally depriving her of the possibility of movement, feeding, water and medical care”.
Teresa Campos removed Big on a stretcher to the veterinary hospital of Arrábida.
For two weeks the animal was tended and cared for, but she “never reacted to stimuli” or managed to eat voluntarily.
“As she had suffered serious nerve damage, and it was unlikely that she would ever recover, the animal was put to sleep” – the owner having “never shown any concern”, Campos told the court.
Indeed, Campos said the defendant told her that Big was in the situation in which Campos found her as he was “waiting to send her for slaughter”.
Público highlights this case, possibly for the judge’s summing up which included a section in which she referred to the fact that “every year in Portugal more than 1200 animals are victims of mistreatment”.
“They cannot defend themselves on their own”, said the sentence, “remaining the hostages of men and their cruelty.
“They are betrayed by those in whom they trust, and even this way, they never stop being loyal”.
Reacting to his suspended jail term of 16 months – and the order to pay veterinary fees as well as a €250 donation to Focinhos – the defendant told Público he feels he has been unfairly treated, but will not be taking the issue to appeal.
The paper adds that the judge also barred the man from owning any pet animals for a period of three years – a ruling that “creates a problem, as another dog, and a cat already live with the couple”.
“The cat is not registered and belongs to my son”, the man is reported to have told journalist Ana Henriques, “before losing his temper” and saying “no one should think they can come and get the dog”.
The 53-year-old also told Henriques that the story had been “invented”, that the dog had made her own grave and that the only reason he had not taken her to the vet was that he was concerned the vet would put her to sleep without his authorisation.