Kennel crisis: less than half of Portugal’s municipalities sterilise stray animals

The drip-feed of negative articles emanating from the political decision last year to prohibit the culling of strays stacked up in municipal kennels has come up with new data today, reinforcing the principal lament that ‘councils weren’t prepared’ for this change in practices, even if politicians were.

Before the law came into force last October, municipalities were all advised to launch sterilisation campaigns – the idea being that even people who could not afford to sterilise their pets would be encouraged to do so and thus reduce the problem of unwanted animals left to abandon.

The plan was ‘good’, the execution of it fairly abysmal. Funds simply didn’t appear in time. Campaigns were either not mounted, or very reduced.

Now, less than a year since kennels were forbidden from euthanizing animals, there is literally no room anywhere (click here). The same goes for private shelters (click here).

Data from the country’s veterinarian authority confirms that of the 308 municipalities on the mainland , only 150 have set up the ‘obligatory official collection centres’, or CROs, designed to take in strays and sterilise them.

“There are councils that did nothing because they were used to collecting and destroying animals, and others that said the money didn’t arrive to sterilise all the animals they had, so they couldn’t”, Maria do Ceu Sampaio, president of the Portuguese animal rights league tells Correio da Manhã.

“Local authorities always questioned the introduction of no-kill kennels without creating the necessary means (to allow for them)”, explains the paper – stressing the association of Portuguese municipalities warned two years ago that unless ‘means were made available’ “there would be neither space nor dignified conditions to take animals in”. 

Good news, however, is that the government this year released 287,000 euros for sterilisation campaigns between January and August – considerably more than it spent “in the whole of 2018”.

And according to Sábado, there will be over a million euros going towards the creation of 20 new CROs in various municipalities – one of them Alcoutim, in the Algarve. 

The others will be in Almeida, Almeirim, Alpiarça, Amares, Arruda dos Vinhos, Avis, Campo Maior, Celorico de Bastos, Crato, Marvão, Monforte, Peniche, Porto de Mós, Reguengos de Monsaraz, Vila Viçosa, Baião e Resende, Penedono, Sernancelhe/ São João da Pesqueira, Moimenta da Beira, Armamar/ Tabuaço and Bombarral/ Cadaval. 

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