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Useful Links

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The Problem with Dogs  -  A very interesting article written by Harry Eckman, Change for Animals, about dog care and protection and the proclamation of the Cruelty to Animals Act in the UK in 1835 which was the first of it's kind.  Recently however, something has changed and dealing with strays and abandoned dogs has become a complex issue, all around the globe.

Take a moment at the two Facebook pages linked below.  There is lots of information on what to do, especially as tourists, if you come across what seems to be a stray pet.  In some countries, "latch key" pets are allowed to wander in the area close to their home, unsupervised.  These pets are usually collared and look well fed and healthy - picking up and transferring these pets to a shelter is actually creating a stray.  Click here for the Missing Pets FB page and click here to go to the Encontra-me (Found) FB page.

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Sistema de Informacão de Animais de Companhia - Check the records to make sure that your dog is registered. This is a database that reflects the registration status and identification of pets in Portugal; this is mandatory for dogs.  The identification process requires dogs to be microchipped and results in the creation of a registration on the SAIC platform.  Transfer of ownership of a dog that has been microchipped, whether free or with a cost, will involve an adjustment of the SAIC record.

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Is it legal to chain dogs permanently in Portugal?  The short and simple answer is, NoClick here to view a document we've compiled describing the cruelty of chaining a dog and the sad outcomes that result and click here (English) and here (Portuguese) for another piece released by

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SEPNA: Reporting cruelty to animals The GNR has a special unit SEPNA dedicated to the protection of the environment and the enforcement of environmental laws, including cruelty to animals.
If you observe any crime against animals this can either be reported in person to the police, by phone to SEPNA: 808 200.  You can ring on the above number or on this link you will find a form ( to report Animal Abuse in the Algarve.  You can also submit a report via the email addresses on the website. 


Cacela Dog Haven - (Website, Facebook) - This is a private shelter close to Nova Cacelha Velha on the eastern Algarve, about 15 km from the Spanish border.  Cacela Dog Haven is owned and managed by Treve and Sharron Ellis and has been a registered association since 2019.  As of November 2023, they've rehomed 268 dogs and like StreetLife, they embrace the philosophy that sterilisation is critical..... they've undertaken and funded around 90 sterilisations to date... some of them were in fact done through the StreetLife programme. 

Sharron has gained something of a reputation as a "puppy guru" so other shelters and the Camara Canils often reach out to CDH for assistance with day-old puppies, dumped in the garbage in plastic bags as though they were of no more value than rubbish. CDH works closely with A Dog's Life and together, they've built a charity shop called PAWS, based in Cabanas de Tavira.  With no government financial assistance, they too rely on the kindness of their friends and supporters! 


A Dog's Life

A Dog's Life - (Website, Facebook)   Based in the countryside near Estoi in east Algarve A Dog's Life was founded in 2019 by Dave and Lucy who devoted their time and their home of three acres to the creation of a sanctuary, having seen the plight of so many abandoned and neglected dogs. They have around 25 dogs at any one time.... some are available for rehoming or long-term foster homes whilst the others will remain at ADL due to illness or behavioural issues.   


Apart from having their own houses for daytime rest, the dogs are housed in their home at night.  ADL relies on volunteers who support the rescue with dog care, rehoming, accounts, fundraising, social media and the website.  ADL works closely with Cacela Dog Haven and share the charity shop called PAWS.  Self-funded up to 2021, ADL now relies solely on fundraising and donations.


APAR - Based in Moncarapacho, APAR (Associação para protecção dos animais de rua) (Email: a private shelter also servicing Fuzeta.  Taking care of more than 150 dogs of all sizes and ages, this rescue organisation manages to rehome between 200 and 300 dogs each year, many of them just puppies. 


They receive almost no public funds and support their work through donations.  The help they receive in day-to-day management is all done by volunteers.  Like the other private shelters, they need all the support they can get!  

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There quite a bit of information on the Safe Communities site, in English relating to the laws around the animal cruelty laws in Portugal.  In October 2014, Portugal introduced new laws making the mistreatment or abandonment of pets a crime included in the Portuguese Penal Code.  These crimes have become punishable with hefty fines or prison sentences. 

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