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Nearly 10,000 crimes, 17 arrests and 18,690 administrative offenses issued for abandonment and mistreatment of animals in five years


Lisbon, Jan 31, 2023 (Lusa) – The police have arrested 17 people for abandoning or mistreating pets and have registered almost 10,000 crimes in the last five years, together with 18,690 administrative offences issues reveals data sent to Lusa by the PSP and GNR.

The 17 arrests were made, between 2018 and 2022, by the Public Security Police, which arrested 15 people for mistreatment and two for abandoning pets.

The year with the most arrests for mistreatment of companion animals was 2021, when there were six, followed by 2019 and 2022, with four each, and in 2018 one person was arrested.

The PSP indicates that the arrests for abandoning animals were made in 2019 and 2020, with one in each year.

Data sent to the Lusa agency indicate that the PSP and the National Republican Guard recorded 9,732 crimes for abandonment or mistreatment of animals between 2018 and 2022.

The PSP also reports that, in five years, it recorded 1,615 crimes of animal abandonment and 2,278 for situations of mistreatment, in a total of 4,402.

While the GNR accounted for 5,330 crimes, 3,385 of which were for mistreatment of animals and 1,945 for abandonment, with this type of crime recorded in 2022 the highest value in the last five years.

The GNR recorded 1,195 crimes for abandonment and mistreatment of pets last year, 1,008 in 2021, 1,030 in 2020, 1,089 in 2019, and 1,008 in 2018.

The PSP, on the other hand, registered a decrease in 2020 and 2021 due to the covid-19 pandemic, having increased again in 2022. Last year, the PSP counted 865 crimes, in 2021 there were 833, in 2020 there were 801, in 2019 there were 952 and in 2018 there were 951.

The GNR also reports that it raised 18,690 administrative offenses for this offense in the last five years, with the highest number in 2018 (5,393), followed by 2019 (5,107), 2022 (3,357), 2020 (2,587) and 2021 (2,246).

This security force refers that the crimes of mistreatment are provided for in the Penal Code and the facts are communicated to the Public Ministry and the offenders identified.

According to the GNR, dogs are the animals that register the highest incidence of abuse and abandonment and generally the collected animals are delivered to the official collection centers (CRO) under municipal or intermunicipal management, and are also delivered, on certain occasions, to other associations.

The GNR also receives complaints, which can be made through the SOS Ambiente e Território line 808 200 520, (Serviços/SOS Ambiente) or by email , having registered 20,823 complaints between 2018 and 2022 , after increasing every year.

The PSP also has an Animal Defence Line ( ) to receive complaints, having registered 12,175 complaints in the last five years, in a growing trend. This line received 2,149 complaints in 2018, 2,278 in 2019, 2,362 in 2020, 2,462 in 2021 and 2,924 last year.

The PSP states that these complaints include not only criminal situations of abandonment and mistreatment, but all occurrences related to the welfare of the animal and suspicious situations that subsequently require inspection and investigation by the police.

The most common complaints that reach the PSP through this line are complaints from neighbours about the dogs that are barking on the balcony, the patio that is dirty and has an unpleasant odour, the owners who are absent without leaving water or food for the animals, walking the dog without a leash and the aggressiveness of animals.

Mistreatment of companion animals has been a crime since 2014 and several people have already been convicted in the first instance.

However, the Constitutional Court has already annulled these convictions on the grounds that they lack constitutional coverage.

Recently, the Public Prosecutor’s Office at the Constitutional Court asked for the declaration of unconstitutionality of the norm that criminalizes with a fine or imprisonment anyone who, without legitimate reason, kills or mistreats pets.