More than 40,000 stray dogs and cats were collected in 2017 by municipal services in mainland Portugal and the Azores, according to data released by the Directorate General of Food and Veterinary Affairs (DGAV).

The data, published on the DGAV portal, refers to the annual report on animals in the Official Collection Centers, provided for in legislation in force since September.

According to the report, requested by the PAN party – People, Animals and Nature, 40,674 dogs and cats were collected in 2017, most in the North region (14,531).

According to statistics, which do not include information on the Autonomous Region of Madeira, 16,144 animals were adopted, 11,819 euthanized, 8,873 sterilized and 98,266 vaccinated (the latter figures include animals collected and vaccinated in the centres and those vaccinated on the continent in the official campaign against rage).

The North region leads the list of the largest number of adopted animals (4,834), euthanized (5,090) and vaccinated (41,257).

But, compared to regions with fewer dogs and cats collected, the North is the region that sterilized fewer animals (522).

Alentejo and Algarve were the regions with the least adopted animals, respectively 649 and 780.

The law, in force since September, provides for measures to establish a network of official collection centres for animals and prohibits slaughter for population control.

The Official Collection Centres have one year from the date of entry into force of the legislation to apply “the technical conditions for carrying out the sterilization in accordance with the legal and regulatory provisions”.