There is help available!

Dear Editor,

Having travelled extensively in third world countries, I have sadly witnessed a lot of pain and suffering of animals.

Yet, surprisingly, I have never witnessed so many in-your-face, mistreated, abused, abandoned and dying animals on a daily basis, as I have seen in my two years here in the Algarve. It’s shocking!

Don’t worry, I’m not about to spout off about the RSPCA or run to the nearest Gala event with a tin of red paint, but I am deeply concerned.

For some time now I have noticed a poorly kept “guard dog”, chained to a short wire doing its life sentence. The dog is so boney and weak, covered with open sores, mange and fleas; it could barely stand to muster a bark when I approached.

I had tried to put my blinkers on each time I passed, after all I cannot go around saving all the animals of the world, but who does one call for HELP?

The other day I purposely drove to check on its state. Why I thought it would have improved is beyond me, however this time I spied the owner in the driveway.  My emotions got the better of me and I jumped out of the car and read him the riot act in my mumbled jumbled broken down Portuguese with a few charade gesticulations thrown in for good measure.

Seeing the dog up close brought tears to my eyes, it was much worse than I thought.

He laughed at my “foreign”, concern and told me the dog was fine as he ushered me away.

I immediately rushed home to my Portuguese friend and we called for help. We delivered our report to a wonderful caring lady who passed us onto the Environmental Police in Faro, who then forwarded the case onto a branch of the GNR called SEPNA.

SEPNA deals with all cases relating to animals that are abused, abandoned and don’t have the correct documentation/inoculation history necessary to prevent horrid diseases such as Leishmaniasis (the debilitating condition brought on by mosquito bites).

Now a full investigation has to take place, and hopefully fine this man not only for the abuse of this animal but to check his documents and take this poor animal away for medical help.

Did you know it’s a minimum of 500 Euros, per animal, for not having documentation we have been told by the GNR? I will do a follow up later in the week as one must always do, we found out, with these cases to make sure the visit has been made.

Like most Algarve Resident readers, I have a whole menagerie, six to be exact, three dogs, three cats, of beautiful street rescues that where in very poor health.  Finally they have inherited their birth right to a decent life, whether it’s running free in packs, howling at the moon, or sitting pretty on a couch with the latest Prada doggie wear.

So please be mindful next time you see an animal suffering – it’s only a phone call away for their relief, however that may be. If we all take responsibility for just ONE case we might be able to slow down if not rid such animal atrocities in our neighbourhoods.

SEPNA GNR   808 200 520

Environmental Police in Faro 96 119 3070

Sarah F. Byrne, Moncarapacho