Portugal, it is a dogs life.
Visiting Portugal has to be a nightmare for animal lovers….the number of unwanted and (semi) feral living dogs is so high… dogs next to the road, asleep, trotting along the road, scouring the parking lot for food…
And this is just the dogs we are talking about, the cats are a different entity and topic all together..
My one day drive on Sunday I saw 24+ dogs and puppies.
From Castro Verde to Granola: Unfortunately already before Granola, in Mimosa I see a mummy dog and her growing up puppy crossing the road, towards the parking lot, looking for food. They cross the busy IC1 to find food, thank fully mummy is smart and knows how to cross, but it is far from safe. The dogs look ok and are Podenco Maneto’s crossbreeds. The journey continues from Grandola to Casa Branca, through a hamlet called Pinheiro da Cruz, where I ran into these two lying next to the road, no collars, well fed, but then again they were in a parking area next to the garbage bins..
Count = 2 dogs
From there on visited Fontanha’s where there was a mum with three puppy’s happily playing next to the roadside, well fed and content…but clearly not house / family dogs.
In Vila Nova do Santo Andre there was a big black dog on a chain, guarding a ruin, it had a bucket of water, and some sort of shelter… and people passing by on a daily basis, just looking at it… I gave it some treats and continued my journey
Count = 7 dogs
…to Sines… where upon entering the town past the harbour I was greeted by three dogs trotting down the main road…two males and a female clearly nursing puppy’s.
Count = 10 dogs
Appalled and taken aback by the sight, I turned my car and drove back….to see where they had walked off to… Well it was very clear… a large pack of dogs had gathered under the flyover this wet and windy Sunday afternoon, 7-8 adult dogs plus mummy dog and 5-6 puppy’s 10-12 weeks old…happily playing in the mud.
For me that is an awful sighting… this means that there is nothing being done in keeping the numbers down, dogs are allowed to breed..and this pack is already huge…and the camera will probably try and catch these and subsequently kill those, humanely or not, that remains to be seen.
Count = 20(+?)
I left dismayed, and turned into the centre of Sines….wish I hadn’t… as the first thing I run into is a pregnant black female asleep on the pavement, and two black and white border collie type male dogs surrounding her, but backing off into the cafe a little further along. There is no way I can stop…and I leave Sines and drive off, away from this port with so many dogs running around…
Count = 23
I continue south along the coast and drive to Cercal, unfortunately it is pouring down with rainy showers and when I turn onto the road towards Colos, I see in the distance a smallish dog running left to right across the busy road, and every time she just manages to be not run over… When I pass her she is in the middle of the road, in shell shock…. I whistle and she comes running after my car… I pull over 50 meters further along and get out.. as I don’t have any food or collars, or leads with me, I just sit down on the pavement and she jumps into my lap… smelly, filthy and soaking wet… she is coming along now, she was in dire need of help..and that is what I can give her… but it is not what i could give all the other dogs I saw on this rainy Sunday
Count = 24
Truthfully, you just cannot visit Portugal without seeing an animal living in one of the aforementioned situations.
It also raises legitimate questions, where do all these dogs come from? whose are they? Are they from unwanted litter adopted out as puppy’s and not sterilised? How can one give away a puppy, and allow it to multiply? You have to be blind and brainless to be totally unaware of the situation in this country?
There are charities rehoming and adopting out puppy’s unsterilised. There will always be the discussion on early age sterilisations, there are many pro’s and just as many people against it. But is it not better to sterilise a puppy at an early age to prevent more puppy’s being born, and thrown out in a lixu container? Do we have a choice in Portugal?
I honestly and truly believe we do not have a choice… we need to do something, and if something is to sterilise a female puppy as young as 8 weeks, we will do it. As it is not the dogs who are irresponsible, it is the people/owners/carers.