It is against the Law in Portugal to keep Dogs chained permanently.

Chaining dogs or keeping them in very small kennels all their life, as it is unfortunately still often seen in the rural areas of the Alentejo (and all over Portugal), is against Portuguese law already since 2001, and everybody should know this.

Some dogs are kept on short ropes or chains to trees or fences, many times all alone in the middle of nowhere, without shade or food. It is heart breaking to see them.

According to the law, the space that the owner has to provide to the animals has to fit to their individual physiological and behavioral needs, and provide the possibility for proper physical exercise and to escape and refuge when needed, e.g. in case of attack or bad weather.

The full law and its modifications can be read here: Decreto Lei no. 276/2001.

Municipality Kennel killings are banned since 2018

The government banned local councils in Portugal from killing stray dogs with a new law in August 2018. The dogs now must be kept in the kennels.

With the new law it can happen that dog owners may feel more tempted to abandon their pets or leave them restrained if they cannot afford to take care of them properly.

Photo: Sasha Sashina on Unsplash

What to do?

If you find a dog in a miserable space, permanently chained or kept in a kennel, you could try talking to the owner, but seeking help (e.g. from an animal organization) is often the better idea. Cases of animal cruelty should always be reported to the environmental unit of the GNR (SEPNA).

It is most likely the lack of money and education that stops the owners from arranging proper shelter and fenced space for their dogs. It is hard to believe that they love there animals but they probably never learned a different way.

Who can help?

Quebr’a Corrente (Break the Chain)

The Organization Quebr’a Corrente (Break the Chain) wants to raise awareness to free Portugal’s chained dogs. In October 2018, the activists started a campaign in Portugal to free the thousands of dogs that spend their entire life restrained. The movement was started by Tania Mesquita and is the first of its kind in in Portugal. The Organization works nationwide with 60 volunteers and started local crowd funding sites to be able to built fencing with the owners to make their outside spaces secure and free the dogs from their prisons.

Artikel about Quebr’a Corente with an excerpt of the law in Portuguese: Jornal Postal do Algarve

Quebr’a Corente

Pet Sitting Algarve

Pet Sitting Algarve has raised awareness about the habit of chaining dogs. They also offer to help you when you want to free a restrained dog.


Tamera Dog Sanctuary

‘Driven by the immense suffering of dogs we see in our region’, Tamera offers emergency aid. They created a 1-hectare dog sanctuary to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home our canine friends. As part of their research into consciously collaborating with animals, they work with these maltreated dogs, to gain their trust and encourage their healing in a community environment. The organization is mainly acive in the region of Odemira.

Their work is adorable:

Supplying chained dogs with food and medicine, and speaking with their owners about their situation

Raising awareness in our region about the rights and needs of dogs

Inviting school classes to share about the situation of animals and our work

Offering farmers affordable neutering for their dogs

Showing farmers alternatives to chaining their dogs like electric solar-powered gates.

Between 2012 and 2016, we’ve taken in over 55 dogs and been able to transfer most of them to a new home. Those who are with us form a very social and caring pack – gentle to all newcomers and helping them to find their way into a new life.

Being able to run freely, formerly chained dogs with underdeveloped leg muscles have a completely new healing experience.

Healing animals often means healing our own soul. We have witnessed how contact with these loving, playful and loyal animals helps children and also adults to find trust and open the heart. The dog is “man’s best friend” and this is a huge promise and healing possibility. To see a tormented animal recover from trauma helps people to heal their own trauma and gives confidence that healing is possible even in the worst of situations.


Tamera Dog Sanctuary – Website:

Contact: dogs(at) – If you want to support, receive more information or simply sign up for regular updates about their activities, like rescue or neutering actions or to celebrate the successful recovery of a new dog with us!

Contact us if you know other people or organizations who help dogs to free them from their misery!


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2 Responses

  1. John Martin

    Thank you so much for your article, i moved to Portugal to take care of my mother, since being here my mother needs to take care of me, i am a total nervous wreck, there are constant dogs barking night and day from all around, please come here and witness for yourself (Quarteira) i don’t know what to do, i’ve spoken to the owners who say they never hear their dogs bark, (because the dogs bark when they go to work) and the dogs are left on balconies barking until their owners return, i went the the GNR, their reply was (i kid you not) ”what can i do, i can’t tell the dog to stop barking, it’s what they do” i just walked out, and this is on top of all the people who let their dogs out to pee and roam the streets when they get home, i don’t know who to talk to about this, the number of dogs in my street is going up, and so is the barking, please help me.

    • Pola Vida

      Hello John,
      I am sorry to hear about your troubles. Yes, Portugal is not the sweetest country when it comes to animal rights and how they are treated. It is terrible that these people leave their dogs out on the balcony, I feel pity for them. Because a dog barking all day is in big stress.
      The GNR cannot ignore the law. I recommend that you collect proves and witness reports. Record videos, no matter how long they are. make a detailed list of when and how long the dogs have been barking. Find people to approve of these incidents.
      Collect as many neighbors as possible and form a group, you can’t be the only one being annoyed by this.
      Go to a doctor who can confirm that you have health issues because you cannot get sleep.
      Go to an animal protection organisation and ask them for help. There is another article with a list of organisations on the website too.
      Both, humans and animals deserve to live in healthy conditions, this is their right as living beings, and that’s why we have laws which protect these right.
      People that don’t respect the natural rights of beings living on this planet need to be taught so. If they are not able to take care of a dog properly they should not have a dog. And they need to learn to respect their neighbors too, they are not living alone on this planet!
      Get Support! For the sake of your own wellbeing.
      I wish you lot’s of success,


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