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Article

Impact of COVID-19 Restrictions in Portugal: A Questionnaire to Municipal and Animal Association Shelters

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Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas Abel Salazar (ICBAS), University of Porto, Rua Jorge Viterbo Ferreira 228, 4050-313 Porto, Portugal
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Centro de Estudos de Ciência Animal (CECA), Instituto de Ciências, Tecnologias e Agroambiente da Universidade do Porto (ICETA), Rua D. Manuel II, Apartado 55142, 4051-401 Porto, Portugal
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Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos (CIBIO), Laboratório Associado em Biodiversidade e Biologia Evolutiva (InBIO), Universidade do Porto, Campus Agrário de Vairão, Rua Padre Armando Quintas No.7, 4485-661 Vairão, Portugal
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Shelter Veterinarian, 4050-313 Porto, Portugal
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Jane M. Williams, Hayley Randle and David Marlin
Animals 2021, 11(9), 2532; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11092532
Received: 3 August 2021 / Revised: 20 August 2021 / Accepted: 25 August 2021 / Published: 28 August 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of COVID-19 on Animal Management and Welfare)
The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of COVID-19 restrictions in animal shelters in Portugal, namely, if there were differences between Municipal and Association shelters. A questionnaire was sent to both types of animal shelters. Responses were obtained from all areas of Portugal, and significant differences were reported on the numbers of animals and volunteers, funding and feed supply. Animal welfare aspects, such as abandonment, adoption, exercise and animal interaction, were not significantly different. Municipal shelters seem to be more vulnerable to operational and instruction constraints, whereas Associations were more dependent on volunteer work, funding and, consequently, feed supply. When facing an unpredicted health and social event such as the pandemic, organizations should rely on previously defined preparedness and contingency plans.
The COVID-19 pandemic has an indirect impact on the health and welfare of animals. The aim of this work was to investigate the effect of COVID-19 on Municipal and Association animal shelters. A questionnaire was sent to 97 Municipal shelters and 65 Associations. Questions focused on public funding, management and animal welfare during COVID-19 restrictions. The response rate was 43.3% (42/97) for Municipal shelters and 38.5% (25/65) for Associations. Municipal shelters (67%) received over 80% of public funding, whereas 68% of the Associations received less than 50%. During the COVID-19 restrictions, financial difficulties were observed by 52% of Associations and 5% of Municipal shelters, and a lack of volunteers was observed by 56% of Associations and 17% of Municipal shelters. Operational difficulties were indicated by 43% of Associations and 12% of Municipal shelters, and a lack of instructions was observed by 31% of Municipal shelters and 4% of Associations. No significant differences were obtained on abandonment, adoption, clinical support, exercise and interaction. Decreased feed supply was reported by 40% of Associations and 5% of Municipal shelters. During the COVID-19 restrictions, Municipal shelters were more affected by the lack of instructions, and Associations were more affected by external factors such as a decrease in feed supply, volunteers and funding. Preparedness and contingency plans seem essential to face unpredicted crises. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19 restrictions; animal shelters; animal welfare; cats; dogs; management; survey; feed supply; public funding COVID-19 restrictions; animal shelters; animal welfare; cats; dogs; management; survey; feed supply; public funding
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MDPI and ACS Style

Gomes-Neves, E.; Marques, S.; Alves-Pereira, A.; Osório, P.; Müller, A.; Baptista, C.S. Impact of COVID-19 Restrictions in Portugal: A Questionnaire to Municipal and Animal Association Shelters. Animals 2021, 11, 2532. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11092532

AMA Style

Gomes-Neves E, Marques S, Alves-Pereira A, Osório P, Müller A, Baptista CS. Impact of COVID-19 Restrictions in Portugal: A Questionnaire to Municipal and Animal Association Shelters. Animals. 2021; 11(9):2532. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11092532

Chicago/Turabian Style

Gomes-Neves, Eduarda, Sara Marques, Adélia Alves-Pereira, Pedro Osório, Alexandra Müller, and Cláudia S. Baptista 2021. "Impact of COVID-19 Restrictions in Portugal: A Questionnaire to Municipal and Animal Association Shelters" Animals 11, no. 9: 2532. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11092532

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