Characterization of Suspected Crimes against Companion Animals in Portugal
Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas de Abel Salazar (ICBAS), Universidade do Porto (UP), Rua de Jorge Viterbo Ferreira, 228, 4050-313 Porto, Portugal
Instituto Nacional de Investigação Agrária e Veterinária, Rua dos Lagidos, Lugar da Madalena, 4485-655 Vairão, Portugal
Epidemiology Research Unit (EPIUnit), Instituto de Saúde Pública da Universidade do Porto, Rua das Taipas 135, 4050-600 Porto, Portugal
i3S—Instituto de Investigação e Inovação da Universidade do Porto, Rua Alfredo Allen 208, 4200-135 Porto, Portugal
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Shared senior authorship.
Academic Editors: Giuseppe Piegari, Davide De Biase and Jason W. Brooks
Received: 16 August 2021
Revised: 10 September 2021
Accepted: 16 September 2021
Published: 20 September 2021
Crimes against companion animals are universal and represent a major problem in human/animal interaction. This study characterizes forensic cases received at the Laboratory of Pathology of the National Institute of Agrarian and Veterinary Investigation (Vairão, Portugal) since the enforcement of the Portuguese law that criminalizes the mistreatment and abandonment of companion animals. Based on the consult of 160 data files of forensic necropsies analyzed for this study, the suspicion of prior crime against companion animal was confirmed in 38 cases (24%). Most of the assaulted animals were medium-size (57%) male (58%) dogs (87%) of crossbreed (55%), whose death was related to blunt force trauma (31%), firearms (27%), poisoning (27%), and asphyxiation (15%). However, in cats, death was related to blunt force trauma only (100%). In Portugal, violence against animals is a reality and the complaint of these crimes is gradually increasing due to the population’s raising awareness about animal rights.