source – Diário de Notícias 14/10/2007
It was very sad to see yesterdays newspaper with so many cats and dogs without homes. SPAD (the official animal welfare organisation on Madeira) placed around 280 adverts, with colour photographs to try and find new owners. I hope so much it does something for them, as I know they are absolutely full of animals and struggling to take new entrants.
If only one person in every thousand living here on the island, could take in an animal, then the short term problem would be resolved. The long term situation is a different story.
People here are very reluctant to have their pets ‘done’, in part because it is very expensive and also there is an education issue involved. As a result we end up with constantly exploding numbers of cats and dogs on the streets.
Another issue apparently, is that during holiday seasons some people turf their pets out onto the street, rather than ask a neighbour to look after them, or put them into kennels or catteries. I guess in most cases that situation becomes permanent. I really find it so hard to accept that pet owners can be that callous, but I read about it month after month.
By law, all dogs should have a licence, but there are very few owners who do that, and it seems that the authorities don’t really care one way or the other. I am not sure how much it would help the problem if it were to be rigourously enforced, but it might make the owners think twice about their responsibilities and actions.
I lose heart somewhat at times, and I have to think of the positives to stay in balance, like the work of SPAD and the great great work of one of Madeira’s expats who organises daily feeding of stray animals and is totally reliant on donations of food and funding to do so.
There are solutions, but they are pretty much out of reach due to lack of resources generally, not to mention funding. Rumours have been circulating for a long time about the councils on Madeira officially being given the responsibility for the proper management of stray animals, but certainly from where I am sitting, I can see no results yet.
So if anyone wins the lottery and has a few hundred thousand euros to spare, or even 10 euros will do for starters, please think of the animals, and the charities who want to be able to do so much more.
The dear little dog in the photo has been abandoned in Ribeira Brava. It looks like she has recently had puppies, and I suspect the owner kept the cute puppies and threw out the mother. She is a beautiful a healthy looking dog, and has been trained to shake paws too.
You can find out more about SPAD and other animal charities, and how you can help here: