Thousands of pets are being abandoned across Portugal, either being dumped at the gates of charitable associations or simply taken far from home and left behind, as owners struggle to make ends meet due to the continuing financial crisis.
Figures released by the National Veterinary Authority, Direção Geral de Alimentação e Veterinária, show that in the Lisbon area alone, a total of 5,629 stray cats and dogs were caught last year, up from the 4,442 caught in 2010. Data for this year is not yet available, but signs are that this problem is not only continuing but also on the increase, everywhere, especially in the Portuguese capital.
Adding to the problem is the fact that Lisbon's municipal kennel is not collecting stray animals and is currently closed for refurbishment work but has no date for reopening, Lisbon's urban environment councillor, José Sá Fernandes told Expresso newspaper this week.
Animal associations around the capital are also struggling to make ends meet and pay the expenses of looking after other people's unwanted animals as the number of paid members has fallen, along with the number of animal adoptions.