Keep Improving Pet Protection Laws


Target: Cristóvão Norte, Member of Parliament

Goal: Praise legal framework for animal protection, and urge continued development of animal rights legislation

The government of Portugal has recently introduced a change in the penal code in order to better protect pets. Now, it will be a criminal offense for owners to abandon or neglect their pets- one of the first animal protection laws in the country. Those that abandon their pets can now be imprisoned for up to six months, while those that abuse or neglect their pets could face up to a year in prison and a hefty fine. While it is a huge step forward in animal protection reform for Portugal, further legislation is necessary to close some rather large loopholes.

The new law will criminalize the abandonment and mistreatment of pets, but fails to define what is considered neglect or mistreatment. Also, under the civil code, animals are considered things, and therefore have little to no rights otherwise. Furthermore, animal protection organizations are not yet allowed to aid in animal cruelty investigations, leaving it up to police who may push animal cruelty cases lower on their lists of priorities.

This new landmark law will set a framework for further protection of pets and other animals, and is the first step in great improvements to animal rights in the country. Your signature will commend Portugal’s progression toward fairness for animals as well as urge them to continue to work to protect pets and other animals in the country.


Dear Mr. Cristóvão Norte,

New legislation in Portugal will criminalize the abandonment, neglect, and abuse of companion animals, imposing fines and prison sentences for those found guilty. This is one of Portugal’s first animal protection laws, and is a landmark for a possible new attitude toward animal abuse in the country.

While the legislation is a great start, there is more to be done in ensuring that it is not circumvented by those who exploit loopholes in the law. For example, it is important to define precisely what constitutes neglect and abuse in the eyes of the law. Granting animals a legal status under the Portuguese legal system would ensure that their intrinsic rights are recognized.

I commend your efforts to improve the welfare of companion animals in Portugal, and implore you to continue your efforts to improve animal protection standards for livestock and wild animals, as well.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: BubbleJewel96 via Flickr Creative Commons

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  1. Emily March says:

    Well done and every success with more protection laws!

  2. Kae Blecha, OTR says:

    Thank you for looking out for animals. This is so important to many people. I hope that Spain can learn from your example.

  3. Thank you for giving a voice to these lovely animals!!!

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