“Dozens of dead animals, many of them in a high state of putrefaction, have fallen into open pits in Esposende”, said the association that had already warned of the existence of 432 wells covered by vegetation that essentially makes them traps for animals.

At the beginning of March, the Association had already brought to the attention of the public, the death of a pet in one of these open pit wells, having alerted “several national entities” to do something to stop this from happening.

After raising the alert about the open pit in Esposende, on 10 March, the association was “flooded with shocking images and videos that shocked those in the association”, they said.

“It cannot be accepted that dozens of animals have a slow death in illegal wells that are known to be scattered throughout the county, this should end with taking a different position and moving to instead solving a problem that has been going on for too long”, warns those responsible for the association.

The association mentioned in a statement to The Portugal News that complaints had already been launched with SEPNA, IGAMAOT, the European Commission and World Animal Protection.

For the Esposende citizens association, it is time to “act and defend the population and animals from these existing “traps” and to find those who are responsible for them”.

The association has also criticised the county: “a municipality that receives thousands of tourists, which intends to be a reference in tourism nowadays but has hundreds of illegal wells which is projecting a negative image at a national level”.

The county of Esposende have said that they recognise the problem and that they have already distributed flyers in the local area with the aim of making land owners aware of the rules that they must comply with but stressed that these are private areas and that the situation is due to the “generalised abandonment of agricultural activity”.