AEZA – Associação Ecologista e Zoófila de Aljezur
(Association for Environment and Animal Protection of Aljezur)
AEZA is a local charity concerned with the well-being of dogs and cats.
A new law was introduced in Portugal in 2001. Combating the problem of the growing number of stray dogs. Here the law stated that councils were obliged to remove stray dogs from the streets. If the owner couldn’t be located and the dogs weren’t chipped, the council were obliged to keep them in a secure environment for 10 days. After that time, the animals could be euthanized.
This spurred Dr. Vasco Reis, who was the Aljezur municipal vet at the time, into action. He refused to kill healthy dogs and set about establishing AEZA. 17 years later, this is now a well-organised and much supported local charity.
Protecting and rescuing abandoned and neglected animals. As well as supporting animal owners who are experiencing financial difficulties.
Therefore the charity treat the animals they receive for parasites, and vaccinate and neuter them. The animals are well-tended in AEZAs care, before being re-homed. Much effort is put into seeking homes for the animals. They are successfully re-homed not only locally, but also in places as far-flung as Germany, France and the UK.
Pet owners who cannot afford vet bills for treatment/sterilization can apply for hep from AEZA. They have assisted many local people over the years.
AEZA operate from the Municipal kennel. it is located onthe road to Amoreira beach. Over the years the building has been improved. Including the provision of 3 cages where the public can leave dogs if staff members are absent. A cat sanctuary has also been created on adjoining land. Loaned to the charity from the local council. Support is provided to AEZA by its’ members, volunteers, local vets, other charities and the local council.
True to its’ founders philosophy, the charity maintain a ‘no kill’ policy.
During the twelve months to October 2018, AEZA have-
Received 166 new dogs and 43 new cats/kittens
Returned 41 dogs and 2 cats to their owners
Dealt with 6 dogs and 5 cats dying (naturally or euthanised)
Rehomed 131 dogs (76 to Germany, 7 to the UK, 48 in Portugal) and 15 cats
In autumn there were 40 dogs at the kennels, 20 in foster homes. 10 cat colonies are supported, 19 cats are now in the catteries near the kennel.
All members of AEZA have to abide by the rules of the Universal Declaration for Animal Rights. This declaration, initiated in 1978, was made public by UNESCO in 1990.
Generally, the declaration states that –
- all animals have the right to live and to be respected.
- animals dependent on humans for care must receive it properly. They should not be subjected to ill-treatment.
It wasn’t until 2014 however, that the mistreatment and abandonmen of animals became a punishable offence.
All staff at AEZA are volunteers, including the directors.
Whilst at the kennel, the dogs are kept in packs. As they would live naturally. The animals are fed, and their accommodation cleaned, by volunteers. These generous, caring folk also walk the dogs three times a week. This is important in maintaining/establishing human contact for the dogs.
Additionally, people also undertake to feed colonies of feral cats. This means the cats can be observed for signs of illness, as well as being fed.
Sometimes, ‘foster-homes’ are required for the animals. Again, it is volunteers who provide what is necessary. Foster homes are sought for various reasons. These include pastoral care for animals that have either been mistreated, or are of a nervous nature. The one-to-one contact can implement huge differences in the animals personality and future life.
When we spoke to Faith Hendry Clements, a founder member, she said that foster homes for the animals are always needed. If you could offer such a service, please contact a member for more details.
The Declaration for Animal Rights also encourages people to be made aware of the need to care for animals correctly. AEZA staff comply with this by taking small animals to visit schools and giving talks to the children.
Besides animal welfare, volunteers also undertake maintenance of the building and are active in fund-raising activities.
The charity are constantly seeking help. Can you spare a few hours a week?
They are happy to hear from you. Dog walking is a beneficial experience for
both the dog and the walker. The land surrounding the kennel is super pleasant.
You and the dog get exercise and enjoy each others company.
Currently the times for dog walking are
Tuesday and Friday at 10.30 o’clock and Sunday at 14.30 o’clock.
Just pass by and have a lot of fun.
Website – www.aeza.org
Facebook – AEZA Dog and cat adoption
Telephone – 914 085 052
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Check the AEZA website for details of forth-coming events.
AEZA often have a stall at the weekly Farmers Market. Additionally, one at the monthly market in Vales (1st Sunday of each month). There was an AEZA stall at the Batata Doce festival in Aljezur, on the last weekend in November. Various events are staged throughout the year, including the Dog Show in Vale da Telha. A fun day for two and four egged members of the family.
The AEZA staff work hard to maintain, and improve, their worthwhile effort creating a safer,
cleaner environment. The area they cover is vast, stretching from Carrapateira to Odeceixe.
Thanks to the successful efforts and commitment of the AEZA staff. This area is now free of
roaming packs of wild dogs. One does not have to travel far to see the consequences of such
packs of dogs. Prior to the formation of AEZA, Aljezur was no exception.
Thanks to AEZA and the awareness of such issues that they raise. Aljezur is now
free of diseased and dying dogs roaming the streets. Not only do these dogs foul
the streets, they are often fearful and in pain, which can make them turn aggressive.
Continue with the good work AEZA, and may your strong support be upheld.
Picture provide by Cait Caulfield Photography