Is Portugal’s Proposed “Pet Code” A Good Idea?

While researching for this week’s Hisses and Purrs, I came across an article in The Portugal News about a new “Pet Code” proposed for Portugal by  Assunção Cristas, Minister for Agriculture. The law limits the number of pets that citizens can keep. If you live in an apartment, you can have no more than two dogs, four cats, or a total of four pets. If you live on a property with a backyard or on a farm, you can have up to six pets. If you breed, “registered national purebreds,” you can keep up to ten animals in, ” rustic or mixed buildings to improve the genetic heritage.” (source: The Portugal News Online)

Our household is certainly not in compliance!
Our household is certainly not in compliance!

The Portuguese League for Animal Rights opposes the law because it allows breeders to maintain more animals than those who merely love animals and have the means to care for them.  The Portuguese Association of Veterinaries Specialising in Pets opposes the law because it forces people to choose. If you have a male and a female and they have pups, you either get rid of a parent or all of the pups.

Who stands for this proposed change in the law? The Portuguese Kennel Club (and of course they would, because they had a voice in making it) and the Association for Municipal Vets, who believe limiting the number of animals kept ensures the health and well-being of pets.

What? You mean we could go to jail?
What? You mean we could go to jail?

I wonder if such a law would help. Portugal already limits the number of animals kept in apartments to three dogs and four cats, so that’s not much of a change. But the proposed law would give authorities power to come in and seize animals if a complaint was made, whereas the current law doesn’t allow for that. So people who hoard animals or otherwise don’t care for them could potentially lose their pets.

Or if your neighbor is pissed at you, she could turn you in.

And then there’s the question of whether or not the law would actually change people’s behavior? And will reducing the number of animals one person can own change the way people care for their animals?


What do you think about this proposed “Pet Code”….. good idea or no?

25 thoughts on “Is Portugal’s Proposed “Pet Code” A Good Idea?

  1. About hisses and purrs, and perhaps I missed it: do you know that Spain wants to claim bullfighting as a cultural heritage! Can you believe that, Hissy?

  2. The big question I have: is there actual evidence that reducing the number of pets per household improves their care and welfare?

    Obviously, hoarding is a danger and animals need legal protection against it. But I’d always prefer to see legislation concentrate on actual behavior or care rather than numbers.

  3. That’s a hard question to answer if it’s good or not……really…but personally I think that the number of the pets you have is depending on human’s morals. If the person can look after all those pets she/he has, there wouldn’t need the “Pet Code” at all.

    1. Bingo! If the critters are healthy and cared for, why shouldn’t you be allowed to have them? Every animal I’ve wound up with has been abandoned or born feral from a previously abandoned mother…. Montgomery county TN has taken the dog leash law and applies it to cats, so if your cat goes out, you must have on a leash and neighbors DO use it as a tool just to screw w/ people!

  4. Well this concerns me for a few reasons. On the one hand I know a lady who has 40 guinea pigs who live in her living room and spare room in pens and spaces I could only dream of being able to provide for my boys. She works very hard to maintain good standards for them and loves them to bits.

    On the other hand I know someone with two guinea pigs who are not cleaned out often enough despite me constantly mentioning it and offering my help. Their claws are far to long and again, despite offers of help they still have not done anything. And one of the piggies has a very large lump (tumor I think) on her stomach which they took her to the vets about once (eventually, after over two weeks of me hassling), the vet prescribed meds to give which they did but they didn’t take her back when it continued to grow. (It’s actually at the point where, even though they are family friends, I think I need to report them if changes aren’t made in the next day or so)

    So really is it numbers that are the problem? Is it numbers preventing animals from getting a good standard of care? Or is it irresponsible pet owners?

    The answer to all of them seems pretty clear to me.

    ~ Amy

    1. M say another law will do nothing to correct any of the problems. People break laws all the time and nothing happens to them for breaking the law. Intensive education of the public would probably do more good at this point. There are irresponsible pet owners all over the world. Somehow we need to reach them.

  5. Limiting numbers by law won’t do anything for adequate pet care but it might make a lot of money for gov. coffers in fines and animal breeders may sell more.
    When first reported, I thought I’d have a problem with my 4 (now sadly 3) rescue dogs!
    I think the law will not come into effect as proposed … after the ho-ha it has caused!

  6. My husband lived in a “No Pets Allowed” building for 25 years. Every year, they would send the exterminator to knock back the roach population (the roaches were always a step ahead). Before the exterminator, they would send notes to all the tenants telling them to make sure to get their pets out before the exterminators got there and keep them away for 24 hours. Effectively, the rule was a way of getting rid of obnoxious pets or perhaps tenants someone didn’t like. It certainly didn’t stop people from having pets. It never does. It’s a stupid law because it’s unenforceable.

  7. I don’t like the idea of the government being able to come in and confiscate pets. What happens to them then? Doesn’t sound like a government that would set up rescue shelters until good homes are found….

  8. This plan is not well thought out. We had seven cats in the past and they were very well cared for. Yet I see some folks with one pet and it is abused. It’s not the number per say but the quality of care they receive.

  9. It is like any law, and has advantages and disadvantages.. so called “pet hoarders” who cannot properly take care of their animals will no longer be allowed to do this. And that is good for the animals. But.. this law can also be used against you, no matter how good of a pet owner and how responsible you are.. if you don’t get along with the neighbors..

  10. It is, as you point out, a tough and complicated question! I’m glad it’s at least being discussed at the moment rather than just flat-out decided unilaterally, because it might bring the true issues into brighter light for more people, and education is always important.

  11. I’m definitely not a fan of this change. There are so many animals needing furever homes and this change is limiting the already small number of people who are willing to take them in, love them and provide for them. I do understand hoarding is problematic but surely there is a better way to manage those situations. You certainly presented some food for thought, that’s for sure. Much love, the Scottie Mom.

  12. I think a better option, universally, is for animal welfare to be effectively and properly administered. A lot of things are subject to merit and circumstance. Potentially giving breeders more and loving capable animal carers less doesn’t come anywhere near being a solution to much at all. People who flout laws don’t give a rats for the nuance of them. Increased policing instils fear in innocent people who fall on the ‘wrong’ side of the arbitrary line, when they may be doing no harm at all

  13. I don’t think there should be limits as long as the animals are well-cared for. There are some people who shouldn’t be allowed to have any pets! I understand that there may not be enough resources to monitor the conditions of every situation so limiting the number of pets is an attempt to prevent hoarding or backyard breeders. I think the puppy mills are the worst places.

  14. I am not sure about this one… on one hand it might help to keep same pets safer but on the other some people will break the rule anyway just because there is a restriction.
    Weird proposal me thinks…

  15. ummm…Mom Linda says her experience tells her that just changing the rules never changes human behavior. ie the Affordable Health Care law, which we, personally support. However, it did not/does not change the behavior of insurance companies who already found loop holes in it to allow them to cancel peoples’ affordable current insurance and then reissue a new policy for hundreds more. The AHC law did not change the behavior of corporate entities bound to take advantage of consumers. The Portuguese law will not achieve what the Vet Assoc wants which sounds reasonable…because humans will find a way around it no matter what. sorry for the rant…I just know rule changes/laws do not affect behavior.

What would you like to add to the conversation? Bark at me in a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s