Alexandra Pereira, director of the companion animal welfare department at ICNF, when asked by Lusa about the estimated number of stray animals in the country, referred to the census, the results of which will be known by the end of the year and to the official data regarding the previous year, which indicated more than 40 thousand animals were collected.

But the number does not reveal the true dimension of the problem, because it concerns the total number published by municipal kennels when not all municipalities have kennels.

In other words, animals collected by associations or individuals are not counted, in addition to the fact that “municipal kennels are overcrowded” and do not collect all animals, so the number only relates to more urgent situations.

The issue of stray animals and ENAE, carried out by ICNF, is the central theme of the Institute’s 3rd Animal Welfare Conference, which took place on 28 November, in Lisbon.

“There are currently around 2.75 million pet animals registered in the system and around 2,000 accommodations - which include Official Collection Centers (CRO), zoophilic associations accommodations, hotels and breeders. This universe requires a specific and reinforced framework to provide the correct response to the problems that have arisen in this area, in order to improve public policy on the welfare of companion animals, making it more effective”, said Alexandra Pereira about the conference on the official ICNF page.

The census, which has been carried out in partnership with the University of Aveiro for two years now, will investigate other population dynamics, taking into account that there are animals on the street that just went “for a walk”, explained Alexandra Pereira, stating that knowing the real situation makes possible the determination of public policies.

Adding, at ENAE (which was in public consultation last summer and now is in the analysis phase) the need for the census was immediately identified.

Truthfully the numbers are very high and this is a problem “caused by human beings”, who often create expectations about what it is to have an animal that then do not correspond to reality, which leads to abandonment.

“When the animal is not sterilised, it will reproduce in public”, lamenting “adoptions that are not responsible”, driven by impulse, when the animal is small and beautiful.

In cities, there are many cases of sterilised cats (a sign when the tip of their left ear is cut off) being fed by caregivers, a phenomenon that does not exist in the law but is intended to exist.

And in municipalities with urban and rural areas there are packs of dogs, which could pose danger to other dogs and livestock animals, especially their offspring that have little contact with humans, explains the person in charge.

ENAE’s main objectives are to prevent animals from ending up on the streets, removing those that are on the street and sterilise the rest that remains on the street, said Alexandra Pereira, highlighting that the dog that unduly wonders on the street without an owner, despite having one, is considered a wandering animal. In these cases, it is necessary to inform, monitor and raise awareness, being the reason the INCF is preparing an awareness campaign.

Stray animals have an impact on the public health and the well-being of other animals, above all on the well-being of the strays themselves.

Laurentinha Pedroso, an animal provider, in recent statements, recalled that every year 42,000 animals are collected 25,000 of which are adopted and 2,000 are euthanised, meaning that there are always 15,000 animals left, today there are at least 80,000 animals living in collection centers.