Killed by poison, after immense suffering

Os cães são como o mar, de uma beleza maior. Têm uma expressão tal que não cansa olhar para eles. Gosto muito de animais, de todo os animais : cães, gatos, passarinhos, porcos, burros, até de galinhas... Quando vou de viagem, sou capaz de mandar parar o carro só para ficar a olhar para um burro. Choca-me saber que há pessoas capazes de abandonar os seus animais. - Amália Rodrigues, in "Amália, uma força da natureza", Colares Editora

Domestic animals are deliberately poisoned in Portugal everyday. They are killed with poisoned food left around by people who consider them - mostly dogs - a nuisance for whatever reason.

Fingers are pointed at neighbours, hunters, poachers, owners of residential areas and golf courses and municipal officials.

The poisoning is often excused as a necessary operation to dispose of stray dogs and cats. These are considered a major problem, as sterilization of pets is not yet common in most households. Pets are often rejected when they become ill or when the owners are dissatisfied with them in any way.

Many, too many, owners of hunting dogs abandon them when they are no longer useful. It is well known in the Algarve that animal poisoning increases just before the hunting season starts and continues throughout. Empty poison bags are found in fields, yet dogs and cats within private property also get poisoned.

It should be quite clear that poison and poisoned animals scattered in the fields are also a grave risk to children and protected animals such like birds of prey.

People who are spreading herbicides and pesticides liberally disregarding the information and warnings on the labels or ignoring the risks to animal and human health also kill domestic animals accidentally.

Deliberate poisoning is one of the most barbaric and cowardly crimes against animals and a source of immense anguish and grief to the people who love them.

Amazingly, even rampant poisoning is not recognized as an official problem! There are hardly, if any, reports made to the Guard or the Police.

Despite their anger and sorrow, the somewhat cynical and lax response from the owners of animals poisoned to death shows they mistrust or even fear the judicial system and that poisoning will long remain acceptable to their culture.

Brief, many people here seem to view poisoning as a 'fact of life'.

The victims would disagree if they only could have a say in it...

Read Little Bear sad story