A Matilha Dog’s Story (Updated May 24, 2013)

Para o Português, por favour abrir “aqui“.  To donate to help these dogs please reference “Matilha” on your payment and follow the instructions at How To Donate.  A complete index of the media articles published to date can be found here.


A Matilha Dog’s Story Update May 24, 2013

To sign the new petition demanding Justice please open: “Petition to save dogs kept in abusive conditions at the Matilha Envolta located in Rogil, Aljezur and for action against Mr. Pedro Miguel Oliviera, owner“.

We demand that legal action be taken against Mr. Pedro Miguel Oliviera, owner of 40+ dogs kept at the “Matilha Envolta” in Rogil, Aljezur, Portugal where he kept these dogs abusively and starving.  We request the disclosure as to the wherabouts of the 20+ dogs that he took from this location between May 20 and May 23, 2013.   We demand that the dogs be confiscated by the authorities so that help and veterinary care may be gotten to the surviving dogs.  We demand that legal action be taken by the authorities against Mr. Pedro Miguel Oliviera  for the abuse, mistreatment and possible murder that he inflicted upon the dogs that were under his care.

Complaints to the authorities against abusive conditions in which 40+ dogs were kept at  Matilha located in Rogil, Aljezur begun in December 2012.  Although many visits were made by the authorities to the site the dogs remained at this location and in these conditions for over 5 months.  After publication of the photos and situation by SOS Algarve Animals on Monday May 20, 2013 another visit was scheduled to the location by the authorities for Friday May 24th, 2013. The owner received notification that the visit would take place, and by the time the authorities arrived on Thursday May 23th, the dogs had been removed from the location and Mr. Pedro Oliviera gave no substantive explanation to the whereabouts of the missing dogs.

 A Matilha Dog’s Story Published May 19, 2013

This is the story of forty dogs – loving, open, friendly, gentle dogs kept in hell.  Please do not turn away from this story, please take the time to make a complaint, because without your complaint the dogs will remain in this hell.   To publicly expose and complain is the only way to show the authorities that allowing this treatment of dogs in Portugal is NOT going to be accepted and must be stopped now.



SEPNA, the GNR, the mayor, the Presidente da Cãmara Municipal de Aljezur and the municipal câmara vet are all aware of the situation and agree that it is a problem and should not be happening…but they say it is too difficult as there is no law or authority under which to remove or help the dogs.

So we share the story and the photos because, without your help and complaint (and please see below for where to make complaints) the dogs will simply be left and their suffering forgotten about.


The dogs belong to a Matilha in Rogil, Aljezur.  A Matilha is a rent-a-dog hunting kennel.  There are many people aware of what is happening, and many have tried to help.  But despite several visits from the câmara vet, from the relevant branch(es) of the GNR/SEPNA, the owner simply refuses to give up his dogs (he even refuses to sell his dogs).


The owner’s “care” of 40 his dogs…. care that is evidently legal in Portugal… is care under which the dogs starve to death, they have organ damage from prolonged lack of water, they have gunshot wounds and broken limbs that never receive treatment,  they must kill and eat  new born puppies to survive,  they die in an untold number of despicable ways about which the owner does not care.  The owner will proudly explain that he only feeds his dogs Monday through Wednesday (sometimes on Thursdays) because they must be “hungry” at the weekend to be able to properly hunt.  He simply does not care.


The dogs are never let out.   They do not get to walk.  They are rarely taken hunting, except perhaps a few weekends of the year.  Instead, they are simply caged day in and day out…always.  There are pregnant dogs which give birth while living on short chains, amidst other chained up dogs, living on concrete flooring and in filth.  The puppies are left to fend for themselves and, and once they start walking, are vulnerable to the other starving dogs.


Injuries. Bites. Wounds. Abscesses.  All are infected.  The dogs are sick.  You can tell immediately.  The look in their eyes is heart-breaking, they show it all.  There are dogs with broken legs, malformations, dogs with legs hanging half way off…legs that need amputations.  There was a pregnant mother (a few days away from giving birth).  Her back paw was torn off.  The bone rot creeping up her leg.  The pain must be excruciating.


And yet we know this is happening, the authorities know this is happening, and the dogs are left in these appalling conditions.  They are left to this torture and abuse.  How is this acceptable?  How can this be ignored?

We have been led to believe that because the owner has a license for a hunting kennel, there is no authority to fine the owner or to take the dogs without the owner’s consent.   In other words, he can starve his dogs to death, abuse them however he wants, and this will all be allowed and legal in Portugal. 

We have argued and fought to free these dogs for 5 months.  Six dogs were removed by the municipal câmara vet with the owner’s agreement, ten dogs have simply disappeared.  Over twenty dogs remain.


During these 5 months neighbours (alerted to the situation and unable to watch while doing nothing) begun to feed and water the dogs, to try and bring them some minimal form of care, so the conditions improved.  The dogs are still starving but it is not as extreme.  And the neighbours, no longer able to continue, will soon leave and without their care it will be simply a matter of weeks before the dogs start again dying.  The owner rarely visits, he sends no one else to feed or water the dogs.    At what point will the authorities take action?  What other evidence do they need?

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Under Portuguese law a companion animal is entitled to reasonable care.   How can this possibly be reasonable care?  Is an owner who has a license for a hunting kennel protected and allowed to starve and torture 40 dogs to death?  We are at a loss to understand how, under any law, this treatment of these dogs is acceptable.

The authorities simply throw up their hands and ignore the situation.  If this is the sort of treatment to animals allowed in Portugal it will not go without exposure.



To  make a donation towards the Matilha Dogs (for their food and hopefully future vet care – if they are released) please reference “Matilha” on your payment and send by credit card or bank transfer.  See How To Donate.

Please join sosalgarveanimals.com and sign our petition.

To sign the Petition open: Petition to Stop Abuse Of Hunting Dogs In Portugal

A video of the photos can be found at You Tube Video Matilha.

The case has also been shared with ESDAW.  And if you also wish to make a complaint (in any language) to share your voice and show that this is not acceptable, our complaint has been addressed to the authorities listed below:

Authorities to whom complaint has been addressed:

Presidente da Câmara Municipal de Aljezur
José Manuel Velhinho Amarelinho
Rua Capitão Salgueiro Maia – 8670-005 ALJEZUR
Telefone: 282 990010 Fax: 282 990011
e-mail: geral@cm-aljezur.pt
 SEPNA – Serviço de Proteção da Natureza e do Ambiente da GNR Lisboa
Comandante do Destacamento da GNR Lisboa
Largo do Carmo – 1200-092 LISBOA
Telefone: 213 217 291
Email: dsepna@gnar.pt
SEPNA – Serviço de Proteção da Natureza e do Ambiente da GNR Portimão
Comandante do Destacamento da GNR Portimão
Alto da Raminha, Avenida V6 – 8500-510 PORTIMÃO
Telefone: 282 420 750
Email: ct.far.dptm.pptm@gnr.pt
SEPNA – Serviço de Proteção da Natureza e do Ambiente da GNR Lisboa
Comandante do Destacamento da GNR Lisboa
Largo do Carmo – 1200-092 LISBOA
Telefone: 213 217 291
Email: dsepna@gnar.pt
DGVA – Diretora Geral de Alimentação e Veterinária Lisboa
Dra Maria Teresa Brito
Largo da Academia das Belas Artes
Rua Victor Cordon, 2 – 1249-105 LISBOA
Telefone: 213 239 500
Email: dirgeral@dgav.pt
DGVA Faro – Diretora Geral de Alimentação e Veterinária (DGAV Faro)
Serviços Veterinários do Algarve
Dra Cristina Ferradeira
Braciais – Patacão, Apartado 282 – 8001-904 FARO
Telefone: 289870723
Email: cferradeira@dgav.pt
Presidente da Federação de Caçadores do Algarve
Sr. Vitor Manuel Bota Palmilha
Praceta das Bernardas, no.4 – r/c – 8800-685 TAVIRA
Tel. 281 326 469 / 281 324 050 Fax. 281 324 060