Veterinary Order wants places to receive animals "orphaned" because of the pandemic

Covid-19 pandemic also affected the lives of companion animals

The President of the Order of Veterinarians argues that there should be places for pets that are left alone due to the owner's death, to ensure that they “never remain abandoned”.

Jorge Cid spoke to Lusa agency about how the covid-19 pandemic has also affected the lives of companion animals.

“Although there is no concrete study in Portugal that can accurately state any situation that has taken place in this pandemic, the feeling we have is that there were two situations” in relation to dogs and cats.

One of the situations is related to the increase in deaths in Portugal this past year due to covid-19 and other diseases in which people who were alone left their animal unprotected.

Regarding this situation, the president said that the Order of Veterinarians has defended for “a long time” that places should be reserved, namely in municipal kennels or other places that can collaborate in this matter, so that these “animals are never abandoned”.

On the other hand, he noted, there has been “a greater demand for companion animals, either in adoptions or acquisitions during the pandemic, especially in confinement”, a phenomenon that is not exclusive to Portugal, in Spain the same thing happened.

As reasons for this search, Jorge Cid pointed out, on the one hand, people have more time, and on the other, they take the opportunity to take their hygienic walks with their pet.

“It's a reason to be able to go out and be more outdoors that, otherwise, they could not do and also spend more time at home to be able to enjoy the benefits of having a pet”, he stressed.

The Chairman also highlighted that dogs, cats and other pets have a very important role in people's lives, especially those who suffer from some loneliness.

“This is fundamental, we live with these situations every day and we see that a person who is already an advanced age who lives a lot alone, the companion animal has an essential function for that person's emotional balance”, he stressed.

Often, he stressed, they are "the only reason that this person feels it is necessary to be alive and that he still has some use in life, which is to feed and treat his pet, which he treats as a member of the family."

According to Jorge Cid, “there are immense medical studies” that assess and value the role of an animal in many people's illnesses.

“We are not just talking about the psychological part, we are talking about relapses of myocardial infarction, heart problems or other types of problems, obesity, diabetes in various situations”, he added.

The year 2020 is also marked by the crime of abandoning pets, although there are fewer situations compared to 2019, according to data sent to the Lusa agency by the GNR, which registered 17 cases this year, in January.

“In 2020, in total, 360 crimes were registered and in 2019, 416 were registered” following “proactive inspections or investigations, either by complaint”.

The Animalife association conducted a survey of more than 200 animal protection associations on the impact of the covid-19 pandemic, with the majority pointing to a dropout rate between 10% and 20%, while more than 20% admit to an increase greater than 30%.

"The economic difficulties resulting from the pandemic, caused for example by situations of unemployment, are the main reason invoked to justify the increase in the number of abandoned animals in this period, with almost half of the associations pointing this out as the main reason", says the association .

The greatest difficulty in accessing essential goods and services, such as food or medical and veterinary treatments, is the second reason given to justify abandonment.