There are unwanted puppies (and kittens have now begun) everywhere we look in Portugal. Hundreds in shelters… hundreds on the street. The only way forward is by sterilization of female dogs and cats so as the constant reproduction of unwanted puppies and kittens stops.
In the past month we have sterilized 23 female dogs, plus cats, from situations where they were reproducing. And this week we have more female dogs arriving. All these dogs have persons looking after them… they do not need to be rehomed, their quality of life is otherwise ok. But sadly their care takers simply do not have the money to pay for them to be sterilized.
A conservative average is that 6 babies are born per litter. This means that in the past month we have stopped the birth of about another 138 unwanted puppies.
Many of these sterilization situations are different…… They are not dogs with a traditional home or owner. We are not funding the sterilization of individual pets….
We do not fund expensive vet care, sadly, our funds will always go first towards sterilization, and there never seems to be enough.
As an example, one of our volunteers came across an old dog who was extremely sick near Gorjoes. Positive for leish, very old, extremely skinny, his paw infected with lesions, there was little that could be done except to humanely euthanize. Except this dog had a registered microchip and so we contacted the owner, who is an elderly Portuguese lady. She loves her dogs but simply does not have the funds to care for them, and the situation is now worse as her husband recently died.
So after talking to the lady, the old boy was put to sleep and we paid the owner a visit. The dogs are fine, with plenty of space. Assistance with food has been given by another charity. But there were 2 visibly pregnant dogs, another mum and puppies, and another 3 female dogs on the premises. So 5 dogs and 4 cats have so far been sterilized. And the mum and puppies will be taken in once they are old enough for rehoming and sterilization. She is extremely grateful for the help. She does not want puppies. She would sterilize all of her dogs happily, she simply had no way to do this without the help. Yet another 30 less unwanted puppies and 24 less unwanted kittens.
Then in Loule we received a call for help from a gypsy camp. Family of the chief is distraught at the condition of their dogs, whom they love and want to be well and healthy, but are unable to do anything without help. We are amazed at this request, and so offered as much help, without interfering, as they were willing to accept. There are sixteen families in this camp, and all but one want their females sterilized. Unlike common rumour, there is no desire to reproduce and sell puppies. So far 6 females have come to our vet and been sterilized, and there are still more to be done. Our vet also agreed to visit the camp, and the dogs are now being treated for skin conditions. But basically, the dogs are all very happy, well fed, well cared for. The gypsies have also asked us to help with the rehoming of one female and her puppy, a small male who has been in an accident, and needed veterinary treatment, and two more puppy’s have come into our care. Due to sterilization, now another 36 less unwanted puppies.
Other calls have come in. Other litters. Adriana – 6 puppies for rehoming and she has been sterilized. The mummy of the 6 Disney puppies. Two kitten litters as well, both litters have mummies who will be sterilized. Individuals who have neighbours with litters of puppies, and managed to find those puppies homes, those mummies have been sterilized. The unwanted puppies become less and less… and yet there are still more. Another 11 such females have been sterilized this month, another 66 less unwanted puppies.
That totals…just since March, well over 138 unwanted puppies being born. As we have had about 25 puppies for rehoming in the same time period, if we also would have had the others there is simply no way to cope.
We and other groups rescue and rehome as many puppies or kittens as we can, but even together it is impossible as the numbers are so high. Many of the unwanted puppies and kittens will be left on the street having to fend on their own and will die, many puppies and kittens which are left in shelters, many of these will die too. Many will never leave the shelters. Many will grow into street dogs and cats who continue reproducing.
So we try to place a strong focus on funding sterilizations whenever such help is needed. Sadly, it is expensive. But these are female dogs and cats who would not otherwise be sterilized, they would otherwise be left having litter after litter after litter…..and so while we love finding homes, if that is all we do, it will never be enough…..
We will soon be having another fundraiser towards paying for sterilizations. On average it costs 100 euros per female dog and 50 euros per female cat. Help and donations are definitely and continuously needed.
It would be a far better place if the only puppies or kittens who needed homes were those who were actually wanted. The season is at its peak, and saying no to requests for help with sterilization has very sad consequences.
More photos of some of our March/April sterilization dogs are available by clicking this photo album.
And for more information on how to donate please visit donations.
The team at SOS Algarve Animals.