Brighton RSPCA re-homes over one hundred of Portugal’s neglected dogs

By Carrie-Marie Bratley, in News · 30-01-2014 15:19:00 · 6 Comments
Brighton RSPCA re-homes over one hundred of Portugal’s neglected dogs

Since last February the Brighton branch of the UK animal charity the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) has helped find new families for 114 stray and neglected dogs from a number of animal rescue associations in Portugal, having re-homed all but two of the dogs that were shipped there over the past year.

The bridge between the two was built by holistic animal therapist and animal communicator Karen Lippitt, who works closely with Brighton RSPCA and who has been a frequent visitor to Portugal since the 1970s.
Last year she co-organised an exhibition held at Brighton’s famous ONCA Gallery, named Down to the Bone, in a bid to raise monies to fund the trans-national re-homing efforts as well as help a number of Portuguese animal shelters with the costs of feeding and treating their charges.
The funds raised - £10,500 plus one thousand pound’s worth of dog food – were put towards helping Brighton RSPCA, funding local neutering programmes in the Algarve, and covering the costs of transporting the dogs from Portugal to Brighton which can reach £200 per dog and £150 per puppy.
Once they arrive in the UK the upkeep for the dogs is footed by the RSPCA.
The first batch of dogs from Portugal - four dogs from the association Dogs of Portugal in Setúbal – arrived at the RSPCA in Brighton exactly one year ago, in February 2013, followed by another two from The New Goldra Dog Sanctuary in March.

Since then a further 108 dogs have been transported from Portugal to Brighton, from associations including SOS Algarve Animals, the Refugio dos Burros ‘Donkey Sanctuary’, and Canela Cadela in Salema, as well as from municipal kennels where Karen believes they awaited “certain death.”
So far, the Portugal-RSPCA Brighton re-homing project has had close to a 100 percent success rate, with which Karen says she is “delighted”.
“Up to today all but two have been re-homed and the two that we have left will get homes soon, so pretty well 100 percent”, she told The Portugal News this week, adding: “I am asked quite literally several times a day [to help] a deserving dog. It is heartbreaking to say no but we can’t help them all. Saving the life of one dog won’t change the world, but it will surely change the world for one dog.”
Karen also has to be very careful not to bring dogs from Portugal that will take homes from similar local dogs in the UK, such as German Shepherds and Collie-types.
“I am often asked why we are bringing dogs to the UK when there are so many homeless dogs here. As we all know, animal welfare in Portugal is almost non-existent, with no equivalent of the RSPCA, so we must do what we can. We get lots of publicity before the dogs arrive and there is no doubt that the local dogs find homes more quickly as a result of more people coming to the shelter. Down to the Bone was also able to contribute a substantial amount to the RSPCA in Brighton specifically to help death-row dogs in the UK.”
However, the funds raised through Down to the Bone are now dwindling and Karen is appealing for any donations to keep the project running.
“As long as people keep donating and we have the money we will continue to bring dogs”, she pledges, stressing: “Funds are getting low and we need all the help we can get.”
To make a donation please send to Paypal Alternatively, contact: / (+44) 07818 402771, Facebook helpingpawsuk, or see website:


Since 2012 all dogs and puppies must be compliant with the Balai Directive as rescue dogs are classified as an 'economic activity' in the eyes of EU law. Therefore all dogs should be microchipped, rabies vaccinated, Passport and wait 21 + 1 day in isolation before transported to the UK. Seen by a vet 24 hours before transportation and issued with a health cert under TRACES to say dogs are healthy to travel. Since this year puppies must be 12 weeks of age before vaccination and still waith 21 + 1 day, so none should be in UK before 16 weeks of age. Does the RSPCA Broghton contact their local AHVLA office and Trading Standards in writing 24 hours before the dogs arrival in the UK to allow all their paper work to be checked for compliance? Can someone please advice me if this is carried out by the Brighton RSPCA? If not the dogs would be considered to entering the UK illegally? It is not enough to just have a Passport they MUST be compliant with the Balai Directive.

by Patricia James from UK on 28-01-2015 08:52:00

I have just read on Goldra facebook about the terrible situation of the Estrela dogs kept in disgraceful conditions by a so called breeder. I can't put into words how I feel about the torment these beautiful dogs must have suffered. I hope something can be done about the breeder. I have 2 rescue dogs both suffered before I found them. One is an Estrela cross, a beautiful dog. He was in a terrible state, I didn't think he would live but a year on he is fit and healthy but still has some problems he and I are working with. Both dogs are happy being free living on our farm, seeing the joy they give it is hard to believe people could be so cruel to them.
Are you able to take the dogs away from the breeder and have you been able to find homes for them yet?
I will make a donation to you as Jay has given me your paypal details.
I may be able to take on another rescue dog as my cross Pasha is now a lot more confident with other dogs and more relaxed.
Angela Portugal

by Angela from Alentejo on 06-07-2014 04:40:00

I'm with Tracy. If you phone the rspca in brighton they will put all local dogs on awaiting list. And yet Portugal dogs are filling up this centre! I understand that these poor dogs come from bad conditions, but you learn that council pounds put down over 8000 dogs in england because local shelters are full up...And then you find Brighton are full of Portugal dogs. So sad!

by Sarah from UK on 21-04-2014 11:17:00

I hope those 2 dogs get loving homes. I love all animals and I find it despicable that there are people all over the world who abuse, torture, and kill innocent sentient beings. Until humanity respects ALL animals and realizes that the Earth does not belong to the human species, but it is to be shared by all who dwell in it, we will always have bad karma for the harm that we do onto others.

by Emma from Other on 06-02-2014 03:20:00

This is a joke, the Brighton RSPCA have been refusing dogs for the last 2. Months saying there full to the brim, now we know why,!!! What about the untold dogs in Brighton RSPCA kennels? Why bring more dogs over when clearly Brighton has a huge amount of homeless dogs already, and IDE like to know where's the sence in that? Must have cost thousands to get all these dogs over here try spending that money on our own residents

by Tracy from UK on 01-02-2014 07:07:00

Well done to all.
Worth mentioning that the Animal quarantine rules changed in January 2012 making it much easier to bring home dog`s/cat`s back that many people come across on holiday and find competently heart breaking when its time to leave do not be fooled in believing there life will be the same after you go because it wont it will be one of survival my mate and wife returned with two cats who they say the affection the two give them is unbelievable as if they know they have a chance in life.

by Troy from UK on 31-01-2014 07:01:00
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