Every day in Portugal, animals are abandoned, especially dogs and cats. The reasons are many, but abandonment in general is the result of the owners’ lack of commitment.
With this pest in mind, and given the need for sterilization initiatives in the country, two veterinarians from Vila Nova de Poiares with the means and experience gained during more than ten years of volunteering in various local associations, decided to create an accessible association for owners in need of two things. VERY IMPORTANT: Information and the sterilization of their animals.
So, on February 2, 2011, the ARPA Association was born – to reduce the population and abandon dogs and cats. Its mission is clear: “We work for the day when no puppy or cat breeds unwanted excess.”
To reduce the overpopulation of dogs and cats, the most effective and humane measure is the implementation of contraceptive programs. These programmes, which translate mainly into free or low-cost sterilization campaigns, have already been widely introduced in other countries with great success, the ARPA explains on its website. Hence, they also applied to this intervention in Portugal.
Eleven years later, the balance is positive: “We sterilized 12,811 animals,” the association said on its anniversary. “We have to thank our wonderful and dedicated volunteers for the excellent work they do and all the people who contribute in some way to making this possible! Whether you are caring for and spaying feral cats or your own animals, or through donations and purchases in our charity store.
All of our work is voluntary and can only be achieved with the donations you make to us.”
The importance of partners
In addition to volunteers and those supporting donations, ARPA had other very important partners in these sterilization programmes: Cãofraria dos Bichos – Integrative Veterinary Clinic and Rehabilitation, Susy Utzinger Stiftung für Tierschutz – SUST, Vila Nova de Poiares Municipality and Dogs Trust UK.
Cãofraria has created the Cãofraria XCED Program and Page to differentiate its work within the scope of sterilization campaigns and, in this way, to promote this new aspect which it considers very important and necessary. Its clients are mainly the municipalities, to whom they give full support in the implementation of campaigns for sterilization of dogs and cats, whether they are carried out in the Cãofraria dos Bichos clinic, in Vila Nova de Poiares, or in official collection centers and service centers. Veterinarians.
With years of experience across the country, “Our mission is to provide high-quality, low-cost sterilization to as many animals as possible, where we believe it is essential — and a priority — to end overpopulation, abandonment, and all the suffering and costs that come with animals, people, and institutions,” he says. Caufraria.
“We are pioneers in Portugal in the implementation of ‘HQHVSN’ (High Quality Bulk Sterilization Neutralizer) and CED (Catch, Sterilize and Return) feline campaigns, for which we have a special partnership with ARPA – the beneficiary of a portion of the profits obtained in our campaigns, from in order to provide more sterilization processes,” they explain.
Thus, Cãofraria works at the request of the municipalities and also assists the ARPA in its mission to sterilize stray animals and those in need of their families.
The Susie Foundation, another ARPA partner, has provided significant financial support for its sterilization campaigns.
The association is also sponsored by Dogs Trust UK and supported by City Council.
How does ARPA work?
ARPA’s goal is to promote and implement sterilization information and responsible ownership procedures, as well as the sterilization processes themselves – which are low-cost.
So the strategy includes conducting castration campaigns, providing technical training to veterinarians and other animal health professionals and conducting information campaigns for the general public.
Spays are performed in Cãofraria dos Bichos, in Vila Nova de Poiares, and the surgeries are performed by experienced veterinarians registered with Ordem dos Médicos Veterinários (OMV).
How are requests processed?
How is the process of applying animal sterilization? “In ARPA campaigns, we do not discriminate against any animal. However, we are obligated to discriminate, as dictated by the OMV, as to what kind of people are committed to the campaign – that is, if they are owners or protectors of animals to be neutered,” the association explains.
“In fact, this campaign only recognizes discounted rates for the protectors of roaming animals in the colonies and for needy owners, that is, people who do not have the financial means to sterilize their animals with a vet at normal rates. It is very important that there is transparency in every registration and that the terms and conditions of the animals are made clear. Which is duly transferred to the campaign: if we are dealing with owners or protectors, what will be the fate of the animals after sterilization,” he explains.
Therefore, if you qualify, under these terms, contact the ARPA, which provides registration forms on its website.
And don’t be discouraged if you’re not from the area. ARPA campaigns mainly take place in Vila Nova de Poiares, but it has also carried out interventions in partnership with other municipalities (Evora, Grandola and Elvas) and with associations Franjinhas de Portimão, Anonimais de Lisboa and Midas de Matosinhos.
Scroll through the gallery to learn more about the importance of sterilization.