Over 100,000 demand “justice” for ‘Simba’

Over 100,000 people have signed an online petition demanding “justice” for ‘Simba’, the five-year-old Rhodesian ridgeback that was allegedly shot dead on Saturday (March 7) by a neighbour in Monsanto, Idanha-a-Nova.

Although the neighbour has denied the accusations, saying that he simply fired two shots into the air to scare the dog off his property, his owners say the autopsy is clear.

“Simba’s autopsy has confirmed that the shots were fired in the dog’s direction. There were also bullets in the dog’s rear, which proves that the dog was shot from behind,” José Diogo Castiço, Simba’s owner, told Correio da Manhã.

Police were called to the scene on the day of the shooting and the case has been handed over to the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

The story was posted online on Facebook by Castiço and has since been shared by thousands.

By this (Thursday) morning, the online petition demanding justice for ‘Simba’ (http://peticaopublica.com/pview.aspx?pi=PT76386) had received 101,631 signatures.

But the furore has worked against the dog’s owners who say they have now received a texted death threat.

“I’m in panic,” Carriço’s girlfriend Andreia Mira told Correio da Manhã.

“My partner received a written threat on his phone, which has been reported to the GNR. The number is there, but we can’t find out who it is,” she added.

Carriço had written on Facebook how animal protection laws in Portugal have changed.

“We need justice for Bubu (Simba’s nickname) and the hundreds of animals that suffer at the hands of men, of badly intentioned people who are allowed to have guns at home, fire at other animals and cover their walls with heads of dead animals,” he posted.

Animal rights party PAN has offered to pay for the couple’s lawyer while elsewhere sympathisers have offered to pay for fencing around the couple’s property – but they are adamant that they do not want any money.

“Any euro we receive will be donated to associations that protect animals,” Castiço said.

By MICHAEL BRUXO [email protected]