By: NATASHA SMITH
ANIMAL CRUELTY is an ongoing problem not only in the Algarve but across Portugal and many believe animal protection legislation is inadequate as offenders go unpunished. Also, at a local level, little is done about reported cases of animal cruelty.
One Algarve resident told The Resident that she feels let down with the lack of response from the Loulé GNR after she reported that her dog had been shot.
Andrea Hoppmanns, a resident living near Boliqueime, told The Resident that her dog, a Munsterlander, had been barking at the gate of her property when she alleges three boys carrying a hunting rifle shot it.
She took her dog to the vet where an x-ray revealed that the pellet was too deep to be removed but the vet said that if it does not cause any problems or an inflammation, the dog should be fine.
She took a photograph of the boys later that day and went to the GNR with it the following morning. According to Andrea, she was told she should have called immediately after the incident and reporting it a day later would not help much and would mean “lots of paperwork with no results”.
Andrea said: “I am sadly aware of how badly animals are treated in this country and how people can get away with it so easily”. She has contacted animals rights association, ANIMAL, to seek advice.
The Resident also spoke to Hugo Evangelista from ANIMAL, who said: “The law is not sufficient”, adding that there were some cases of animal cruelty that went to court but “it is difficult to find people guilty or even to get as far as a courtroom” with the current legislation.
The president of the national animal rights league (LPDA), Maria do Céu Sampaio, agreed there was insufficient animal protection legislation but LPDA has sent a proposal to Parliament to modify the existing law. She said she hoped there will be more regulation in place by the end of the year.
She told The Resident: “We receive many reports of animal cruelty every day and we can help advise people about how they should proceed”.
A spokesman for the GNR told The Resident: “We are here to serve the community and people should come to us to lodge complaints”. He added that the complaint is then passed to the national veterinary authority (Direcção-Geral de Veterinária), which is responsible for investigating them.
For more information about the current animal protection legislation or to seek advice about how to proceed with an official complaint, please call LPDA on 214 578 413, where staff speak English.
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