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Parishioners V Priest Over Monte Dog Abandonment

The parishioners of Monte have expressed outrage at the attitude of their local priest. In fact the drama has turned parishioner against parishioner with some questioning the man’s humanity after it was discovered that when he decided to go on holiday he threw five dogs out on the street to fend for themselves. Not only that, he had had the locks changed so that the dogs could not be returned to the safety of their home.

The attitude of the priest, Vitor de Sousa, is creating a wave of revolt among the locals. However, the animals are being fed by some of the local people in front of the doors of Monte Church. Others have spoken up to say they are willing to file a complaint with PSP, as the animals have been in the parish for five years and should never have been treated in this way.

Small animal charity, ANIMAD complained to SEPNA – Nature and Environment Protection Service on Monday the 16th of September.  Following this they have also written to the Bishop of Funchal, D. Nuno Brás requesting his intervention in this case.

The letter reads:

‘The ANIMAD Association has been following the situation of the dogs of Monte and has already made its position clear SEPNA.

As an association that works hard on the ground in raising awareness and changing mindsets, it is disgusting to see this whole situation.

It should be the priests, the parishes who are the great drivers of the change in mentality regarding the abandonment of animals and mistreatment.

It is unfortunate that such a situation should occur in the middle of the 21st century on this island, even more so, coming from a person who should be setting an example.

We all follow Father Giselo’s case and the way he had to leave his parish unfairly.

We have accurate information that even from far away Father Giselo had always cared about the dogs and that there was someone there to feed them.

It is inadmissible for a parish priest to say that he has no moral responsibility towards animals.

Sensitivity and love for animals should be part of the human psyche. If there is no such responsibility to a living soul from Father Vitor Sousa, then his attitude towards his parishioners must be the same.

The ANIMAD Association requests the intervention of Hon. Bishop D. Nuno Brás in this situation and order the return of the dogs to the parish and not to a kennel.  This would be the most sensible attitude on an island fighting against mistreatment, abandonment and lack of space for stray animals.

ANIMAD is responsible to the Episcopal Palace for the feeding and care of animals.’

The letter is signed by ANIMAD’s President Natália Vieira.

Samantha Gannon

info at

Madeira Weekly