The protection of of animals, is important to Safe Communities Portugal and we are pleased to work with various organizations and government in efforts to protect their rights. This ranges from animal cruelty, abandoned animals as well as those which may have been stolen.
In October 2014 the Portuguese Government introduced laws that make the mistreatment or abandonment of pets a crime included in the Portuguese Penal Code, and become punishable with hefty fines or prison sentences.
According to the law, animal abusers, who, “without a legitimate motive, inflict pain, suffering or any other kind of physical mistreatment to a pet animal”, face a one-year prison sentence or a 120-day fine. If mistreatment intends to “cause the animal’s death or serious and/or permanent injury to the animal, compromising its ability to move” then prison time may go up to two years or the accused may face a 240-day fine. Abandoning pet animals is also punishable by a six-month jail sentence or a 60-day fine.
In some countries theft of animals, particularly pedigree and hunting dogs, is becoming more widespread and on occasions significant sums of money have been demanded by criminals for their return.
In Portugal, although the scale of dogs being stolen is unknown, there have been some reported cases to the police and a few have been posted on various websites. Often if a dog goes missing it is difficult to ascertain whether it was stolen or has simply become lost.
Prevention therefore is better than cure and Safe communities Portugal (SCP) has worked with Lost Pets in the Algarve to produce guidelines which are aimed at reducing the risk of animals going missing, whether or not is through theft or other reasons. The full guidelines and details as well as pictures of missing pets can be found at Lost Pets in the Algarve. SCP’s download with advice to minimize the risk of your pet being stolen is at the bottom of this page.
In the Algarve there are a number of well established organizations and other forums that provide help concerning animal protection, abandoned animals and those that have been reported missing namely: Pessoas e Animais, uma Lligação para a Vida (PRAVI); Lost Pets in the Algarve; Anything Animal Algarve; Lost and Found Pets in the Algarve; Missing Pets Algarve and SOS Animals Algarve
If you have evidence that a pet has been stolen then in addition to any other action, it should be reported to the police. Clearly this needs to be more than suspicion. Likewise if a demand is made to you for the return of an animal this should also be reported. It is important to give as much detail as possible particularly the description of the person(s) who stole the animal. For those in the Algarve, details of nearest police stations can be found on Station Locator page ion the Safe Communities Algarve website.
The GNR has a special unit SEPNA dedicated to the protection of the environment and the enforcement of environmental laws, including cruelty to animals. Their remit is diverse covering, illegal dumping of toxic waste; illegal hunting; animal cruelty; conservation of the environment etc. More details of their work can be found here.
If you observe any crime against animals this can either be reported in person to the police, by phone to SEPNA or online by completing a simple template.
Lost Pets in the Algarve has a dynamic feed aimed at those who have a website or blog that targets the Algarve market, by helping them reunite lost and missing pets with their owners. Please help them by making use of this facility.