Lisbon animal ombudsman resigns

Lisbon’s animal welfare ombudsman has resigned just two months after taking on her duties, and criticised the municipal authority and the board of the city’s kennel, Casa dos Animais, for the lack of support and conditions to provide basic care for the animals.

Marta Rebelo (pictured), a well known animals rights activist, justified her decision with the “difficulties, lies and lack of urgency that surround the kennel” and pointed fingers of accusation at Lisbon Mayor António Costa, who she said kept himself detached from the kennel.

Rebelo revealed that the conditions at the kennel are very poor – “with bacteria and viruses easily spreading in and out of the kennel” – and stressed that no blood tests are conducted on the incoming animals. “I never once saw any blood tests being carried out,” she said.

She added that she does not trust the conditions in place in the cattery and gave an example of a situation which contributed to her decision – four rescue cats, which were carriers of an undetected disease, were adopted from the cattery by different families and ended up infecting 13 other animals. All 17 died.

The ex-ombudsman does not, however, criticise the people who work at Casa dos Animais, who are “all dedicated people and animal lovers”.

“I do not abandon animals. But I do abandon people and projects which are not genuine,” she said.

Rebelo’s main responsibilities consisted of making recommendations and receiving and dealing with complaints concerning Casa dos Animais.