Friday, May 24, 2013

Dog registration is now compulsory on Sal, Cape Verde

As part of the programme to reduce the number of animals roaming free on the island of Sal in Cape Verde, the Câmara Municipal (City Hall) today announced that all dogs must be registered by their owners.

Registration is just one part of encouraging dog-lovers to become more responsible owners.  In addition, owners will, in the near future, be required to either confine their animal or to keep them on a lead when in public places.  Hopefully, this will also help with the problem of dog mess on the beaches and streets.  

Contrary to popular belief, the majority of dogs wandering freely in Santa Maria, on the southern part of the island, are not stray, but are allowed to roam by their owners.  In a census completed by SOS Cães e Gatos (SOS Cats & Dogs) in 2011, just under 80% of dogs found in the street were claimed by someone.  In addition, the majority of the animals are now sterilised thanks to four intensive clinics that have seen 2,500+ animals neutered since 2010.  The results of this work are already being seen, with far less puppies & kittens being born on the island now.

The concept of dog 'ownership' is different in Cabo Verde than in other parts of the world and until now, it has been acceptable to let the dogs be free.  Now, however, with the growth in tourism and the need to keep the beaches clean, things are beginning to change.  It is hoped that the population will embrace these changes. 

In order to register your dog you should visit one of the locations (the old Câmara Municipal building in Santa Maria) mentioned on the poster below and bring your dog's vaccination record (if you have one) and your own identification.  Registration will cost CVE 300.  In return you will receive an identification tag.   If you have registered your dog at the Câmara Muncipal before, you will not have to pay, but you should still take your animal to transfer to the new scheme.  Please don't forget to bring your dog on a leash!  After you have done this there will be an annual license fee of approximately CVE 400.

It's important not to miss the deadline because, although you can still register after this date, it will be more expensive.

The registration and the requirement to control your dog are part of a series of proposed regulations that are expected to pass into law later in the summer.

The message is clear!  If you love your dog, register them, vaccinate them and take care of them!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Dog in Santa Maria nearly beaten to death by beach club owner

If you would like to protest against what happened to this dog, we suggest you voice your opinion directly to Josh Angulo.  You can easily find contact information using a search engine or on facebook.  If you would like to join the campaign for more humane treatment of dogs on Sal in general (using this incident as an example) you can contact the Mayor of Sal Jorge Figueiredo or the Counciller for the EnvironmentPlease do not use abusive language, polite protest works best!  Thanks for your support.

On Sunday 3 March on Praia Antonio Sousa an owned dog, Cookie, was involved in an unfortunate incident that resulted in a child receiving a bite on the ankle.  The dog, although large, is friendly and not known to be aggressive, but was startled and reacted in an inappropriate way.

The child was quickly attended to and witnesses have stated that it was not a serious bite.  The proper way to deal with an incident like this is to hold the owner accountable for the dog and if the matter is not resolved, to involve the police.

Unfortunately the beach club owner, Josh Angulo, who is a well-known windsurfer who recently competed in the Red Bull Storm Chase in Ireland, reacted in anger & aggression.  
Praia Antonio Sousa where the incident took place
An eye witness report states :
"Cookie went back to place where the incident happened, with no clue about what was happening, he was not scared or aggressive at all.  It was sad because he came back in a friendly way, even wagging his tail at the people who were shouting to kill him.
It was then that I realized that there was one guy who was more exited than the rest, screaming and telling the rest that they were going to kill Cookie and telling them to hold the dog.  That was Josh Angulo, the American windsurfer.   My feeling was that the other people were not actually willing to kill the dog but they were encouraged to do it by this person.  Some of Angulo’s workers tried to trick Cookie with food to catch him; he was not aggressive at all.  Suddenly Josh Angulo jumped on top of Cookie and held him on the ground while one of his guys brought him a leash."

Cookie before he was beaten
Another witness states that in his fury, Josh Angulo also kicked another dog that was nearby and shouted "We have to kill this dog".  Cookie was then driven off in a pick up truck belonging to Josh Angulo and what happened after that can only be imagined.  Cookie was missing for around eight hours and was found at 7pm at his home, almost senseless.  His head was completely deformed and the veterinarian that attended him stated that his injuries were consistent with being beaten in the head.

Cookie after he was beaten
"On March 4th I visited the house of Paulina, a Caboverdean lady, to examine her dog 'Cookie'. Cookie came back to the house the previous night after he was missing for several hours.

The dog was very subdued and was not reacting when talking to him. There were no wounds visible apart from a few scabs above his eyes. On examination I found both his pupils miotic (pupils constricted) and fixed. They didn't dilate in the dark. The sclera on both eyes are bloodshot. The head appeared to be deformed and there was a large amount of fluid and air palpable underneath the skin from the bridge of his nose to the back of his head. I suspect that the fluid was blood and that this was a very large haematoma on the head.  When urinating he wasn't able to balance and lift his hind leg. He seems unsteady when walking and did not react when called by the owner.  The clinical findings are consistent with a damage to the central nervous system (brain), very likely caused by a trauma to the head."
In Capeverdean law, a dog that has an owner is property and nobody has the right to destroy anyone else's 'property'.  For this reason, the police were called, but although they went to look for Josh Angulo and the dog, they were unsuccessful.  Later a witness reported that they saw Mr Angulo and others behind Zona Tanquinho beating Cookie with a stick as well as digging a hole.

Cookie's owner was visibly upset, sad and angry with the people who had done this to her dog. She immediately took responsibility and offered to pay the medical fee for the child, who had been taken to the clinic and received treatment for a minor cut.  The child's mother initially accepted this as the resolution to the incident and disassociated herself from the violence that the dog suffered, but later changed her mind.  The association, SOS Cães e Gatos Cabo Verde became involved to help to reconcile the matter between the child's parents and the dog's owner.

Of course it is not acceptable that anyone, let alone a child, is bitten by a dog, but this does not excuse people taking the law into their own hands and beating a dog in a premeditated attack.

Many people are outraged about both aspects of this incident and claims and counter-claims have been aired, especially on facebook.  Supporters of Josh Angulo claim that the beating did not take place but since Angulo has not answered questions about what actually happened during those eight hours the dog was missing, only his stated intention to "kill the dog" and the veterinarian's report can be relied on.  Mr Angulo is a well known figure in Cape Verde and he talks frankly of his battle with drugs and alcohol in this interview, his justification of this aggressive act includes the following statement,

"Me and my family will continue to defend the Capverdian persons rights to sossego, bem estar, health and the right to be at the beach or in public without continual molestation from wild animals which you folks so avidly defend."

It should be noted that there are several dogs that are associated with Mr Angulo's own bar on Antonio Sousa beach.  These dogs run free and are fed by staff and guests.  Naturally they defend their territory, as dogs do and will bark and charge at other dogs walking on the beach.  These dogs are rarely under anyone's control.

Suddenly the issue of stray dogs came to the forefront and the animal welfare association, SOS Cães e Gatos began to be blamed for many things, such as allowing dogs to wander free (the association has made many recommendations over the years about how to improve this but has no authority to DO anything) and hiding the "fact" that there is rabies on the island (there isn't).  All of the issues raised are important but do not in any way justify violent, aggressive and criminal behaviour.  (An important point to note that the dog in question is owned, registered with the Câmara Municipal of Sal & fully vaccinated).

Clearly it is in everyone's interests (including the dogs, some of who live miserable lives) to reduce the population of dogs living on the street and that is why the programme of sterilisation that the association has undertaken since 2010 is so important.  But it is also important to note that an estimated 80% of dogs in Santa Maria are owned, so education about responsible behaviour is a key part of improving the situation.

The aim is for people & animals to live together in peace.   Violence is never the answer.  A dog does not understand why he receives a beating.  Actions like this make the dog MORE likely to be defensive & wary towards humans, not less likely, thereby increasing the possibility of the behaviour you are trying to beat out of it, rather than decreasing it.  

Once again many hotels and restaurants are calling for the killing of all dogs found wandering free, but reverting to mass killing of animals with strychnine poisoning is also unacceptable and ineffective (or it would have worked by now).

Catch Neuter & Return programmes are the ONLY method that works as stated in scientific reports by the World Health Organisation, but it takes time.  The purpose of the cats and dogs association is to reduce the amount of animals living on the street, the same objective as those who are calling for all the dogs to be killed.  It is also to educate people about safeguarding the health of their families by inoculation of animals, treatment for fleas and ticks and to promote responsible ownership, including not allowing dogs to wander free.  Reduction of access to food is also important, cleaning up the streets and asking tourists not to feed dogs at restaurants will also improve the situation.  Dogs gather where there is easy access to food.

Many people justify violence towards dogs and cats (beating them, dumping them and killing them) by stating that Santa Maria is a tourist town and tourists object to animals wandering around freely.  However, creating a reputation for Sal as an island that deals with animals in a humane and effective way can only enhance the island's (and country's) reputation.   Being known as a place that allows cruelty towards animals and the killing of animals in the name of tourism will not bring the island any good publicity.

Dogs are fast becoming a scapegoat for all that ails Santa Maria, but violence and aggression is not the answer.  Working together to find proper solutions, develop and implement good strategies and having the patience to see scientific policies work, is what is needed.  Everyone wants the same outcome.

There is no doubt that Cookie did something wrong, but the subsequent action taken by Josh Angulo and several others was disproportionate, inappropriate and illegal.

We believe that the child is fine (although requests for information have not been answered) and the dog is also recovering.  

The matter is now in the hands of the police who will take action according to Capeverdean law and not according to mob rule.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ray finds his forever home!

No dog deserved to find a loving home more than little Ray!   We know that anyone who sees Ray falls in love with him and that is what happened one day on the beach of the RIU hotel.   Amongst the many people who stopped by to give him a cuddle, a visitor from England, Helen Horsfall knew she could help him.  Although she could not take him home herself, she thought a friend of hers would be interested - and she was right!

That friend, Kirsty McMullen, wrote to Ray the very next day.  She told him how brave she thought he was with his battle to survive and invited him to join her and her family (including Arthur the dog, Percy the cat and three rescued battery hens) in Solihull in England.

She told him that he can look forward to long walks in the woods and lots and lots of love.

Ray was so excited that he ran round and round in circles (well he does that even for the smallest things).  So now all we have to do is wait three months as required by the UK authorities and then in September Ray will be on his way to England.  In the meantime we are trying to prepare him for his new life with lots of walks on the lead and a little bit of training.  We are not sure if we can prepare him for RAIN but Ray says it's ok, he's going to get used to it and big brother Arthur will help him settle in.

We're going to miss him that's for sure but we're so happy for him.

What a long, long way Ray has come and what a little survivor he really is.  Just take a look at these photos and videos to get an idea of how hard his battle has been.

From being unconscious and unable to move, lift his head or feed himself

Ray is now living life to the full!
From not being able to walk or move much he is now playing on the beach with other dogs

In the meantime we have to raise the money for his flight to the UK which could be as much as £600.  If you can help with any small amount Ray would be so grateful.  

Help Ray get to his forever home. 

PS Ray says "Please like my facebook page"  Let's find Ray the puppy a home

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Dog deliberately killed in Santa Maria, Sal

Run over by a quad bike, not once but twice and left to die.

Taylor was a well known and much loved character.  Usually seen hanging around with his four legged & two legged friends at Angulo's at the eastern end of Santa Maria, Taylor had one flaw - he loved to chase vehicles.  Cars, quad bikes, motorbikes and bicycles - all of them were fair game to him.

On Friday 29th June he became a victim to a terrible and cruel act.  Witnesses watched as an orange quad bike drove at high speed up and down the road behind Angulo's, sending Taylor into a frenzy.  Then they watched in horror as the quad bike hit him, not once, but twice and drove away, leaving Taylor lying in the road, bleeding and dying a slow and painful death.

Later the quad bike was identified as belonging to the owner of Funana d'Vila, a restaurant in Santa Maria, although it is not clear who was driving the quad bike.  Walter Dahringer has previously been implicated in an act of animal cruelty when he killed a cat that happened to wander into his restaurant.  Cat Beaten to Death in Santa Maria

Taylor was like many, many dogs here on Sal - for some reason any kind of vehicle going past his territory had to be chased down.  Other than that, he was a placid and friendly dog.

Amongst the many sympathisers, there are some who are saying that they can understand why the unknown person driving Walter Dahringer's quad bike did it - and that Taylor and other dogs like him are "annoying and need to be taught a lesson". 

Being chased by dogs as you drive by may be annoying - but is it reason enough to deliberately drive over a dog, back up, hit him again and then leave him dying in agony?

As for the culprit, there will be no police involved or legal actions because the witness fears reprisals, but everyone can vote with their wallet.  If you don't condone these acts of extreme cruelty, you know where to avoid for your night out.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Let's find Ray the puppy a home!

If ever there was a deserving case this is it.  Little Ray was hours from death as he lay unconscious in someone's house.  At only 6 weeks old he had been hit by a motorbike and it was his good fortune that the SOS Cats & Dogs free clinic was happening that week.  None of us were confident that he would survive, but he did and now he needs a good home.  He has been left with some problems with sight & depth perception but he is a lovely and very lively dog.  He needs someone with plenty of time to devote to him and someone with a lot of love.

Let's make this go viral!  Please like Ray's very own facebook page.  

Click on the thumbnail to read Ray's story in English, Portuguese, Italian, French, Spanish & German.  Please download it and send it to your friends.


My name is Ray, I am nearly 6 months old (born approximately beginning of December 2011) and I live in Sal, Cape Verde. 

They call me ‘The Miracle Puppy’ because no one knows how I survived.  I was brought to the SOS Cats & Dogs clinic in January after being hit by a motorcycle and I had already been unconscious for several days.  No one knew what was wrong with me, but everyone wanted to give me a chance.  Ines, the vet, treated me with fluids, antibiotics & vitamins & hoped for the best.  I stayed in a box in Jacquie & Neal’s house and little by little I started to wake up.  Eventually I began to be able to move around a little.  At first I could not stand up or walk, I would try & try but I would just fall down in the sand.  I was really comical and made everyone laugh!  They all thought that I would be disabled but I proved them wrong.  Now I can run, play & be naughty just like other puppies, I still have some trouble seeing clearly but that’s getting better and anyway nothing can stop me!  I was living with Izzy and she was a great foster Mum, but at the moment I have to live alone on a patio in Santa Maria.  Even though the volunteers are taking great care of me, I really need someone special in my life that I can smother with the all the love that I have inside me.  I hope you like my photos – it’s hard to get a good one because I never stay still!


Ray’s paperwork is almost complete and he will be ready to leave Cape Verde by the end of May.  Assistance can be given for the cost of the flight if necessary.  Ray is about 15kgs and is the height of a beagle – he probably has a little more growing to do.  Although he is partially sighted he is very enthusiastic about life!  Consequently he needs a home where he has some outside space to let off steam – he does see things but cannot always stop before he runs into them!  He does not appear to have anything wrong with him that would entail a lot of veterinarian costs, but he would need to be checked out once he is in Europe.  He responds well to whistles and is beginning to learn to walk on a lead.  He is fine with other dogs & cats but older animals might find he is a little too boisterous for them right now.  Please remember he is still very young but he is smart & capable of learning.  He has not been with young children.  He is very affectionate and would be best suited to someone who can spend a lot of time with him.


contact Jacquie at for more information
Visit Ray’s facebook page & please circulate this to all your friends

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Stray Animal Management Strategies

Many other countries have a much more serious problem with stray animals than we do here in Cabo Verde, so it is interesting to see how other organisations manage their populations.

SCAD based in Bangkok have published this very interesting summary of strategies that work and don't work.  Stray Animal Management Strategies.

Here also are the links to the two reports mentioned:

Guidelines for Dog Population Management W.H.O. Geneva, 1990 (page 74): ‘Removal and killing of dogs should never be considered as the most effective way of dealing with a problem of surplus dogs in the community: it has no effect whatsoever on the root cause of the problem’

Report of W.H.O. Consultation on Dog Ecology Studies, related to Rabies Control, Geneva 22-25 February 1988 (page 11): ‘In none of the studies did the elimination of dogs by any method have any significant long-term effect on dog population size’

100,000 unwanted animal births prevented.

In two weeks, veterinarians from Germany & Cape Verde performed 529 sterilisation operations on dogs and cats - an estimated 100,000 unwanted animals have been prevented from being born, plus there are huge benefits to the animal's health and life of the owners.

Read more here.

How is this number calculated?

If each animal has 6 puppies/kittens twice a year and half of them are female, who then have 6 puppies twice a year, the figure grows exponentially.

Year 1 - 529 x 6 = 3,174 births
Year 2 - 3,174 + 529 (from year 1) = 22,218 births
Year 3 - 22,218 + 3,174 (from year 2) + 529 (from year 1) = 155,526

Insane numbers that hardly seem possible!  The ONLY way is sterilisation.  Please support the association's work by writing emails or making a donation - any small amount goes a long, long way.