Algarve animal sanctuaries

by Sun’s Dragon         

Dogs in a shelter

Like everywhere in the world, there are unwanted, abandoned and ill treated animals in the Algarve. Unfortunately it is necessary to have refuges because the government does very little to help alleviate this situation and most of the aid comes from charities and local individuals.

One of the biggest problems is the cost of spaying and neutering pets and strays.  There are several charities in the Algarve with neutering programmes for strays. Many vets help these charities and also low-income pet-owners by reducing the price of these operations to the bare minimum.

If you are contemplating getting a new pet, a visit to one of the sanctuaries is a great place to start. There are many kittens, cats, puppies, dogs, donkeys and even horses to be found in a refuge and they all need a loving home. It is guaranteed that you will receive a warm welcome and, whether you’re looking for a posh pooch or a mutt, they are certain to have the right pet for you.

Some of the main sanctuaries are listed below and ALL of them are desperate for help and funds.

►   Amigos dos Gatos do AlgarveAn organisation that runs a feral cat sterilisation programme based in Albufeira. AGA was founded by Lesley Normington and has a charity shop in Albufeira to raise badly needed funds to help with their programme. Email: [email protected]

Cats on a windowsill

►   Lagos Animal Protection Society: Established in 1980 this animal sanctuary rescues birds and wildlife as well as domestic animals. L.A.P.S. was founded by Bridget Hicks in 1980 and is based in Odiaxere, Lagos.Telephone: 282 687 334

►   Associação Protecção Animais Algarve (APAA): This is an English language organisation, Association for the Protection of Animals in the Algarve and is linked to the British RSPCA. They run a neutering programme and a rescue and re-homing centre. They are also the organisers of the local annual dog show, ‘Scruffts’.

APAA have 3 fundraising shops, based in Albufeira, Alvor and Silves. Donations and purchase of used clothes and goods is welcome – all shops are staffed by volunteers. Email:  [email protected]

►   Associação dos Amigos dos Animais Abandonados (AAA): This association rescues and re-homes abandoned and stray animals. Based in Canil de S. Francisco de Assis, near Loulé, they too are dependent on charitable donations. Telephone: 289-416862 and 919765600 

►   Associação Dos Animais e Plantas de Olhão (ADAPO): This is a stray animal shelter, based in Olhão, working closely with MAF in Faro for the rescue and care of abandoned and stray animals. 

Donkey in a sanctuary

►   Associação Ecologista e Zoófila de Aljezur (AEZA): This charitable organisation runs an animal rescue and treatment centre. They also re-home abandoned animals. Email: [email protected] or [email protected]

►   Liga Olhanense Dos Amigos Dos Animais Abandonados: Based in Olhão, this charity takes in abandoned animals. Telefone: 289.714.219 or email: [email protected]

►   CaniGoldra: Better known now as the New Goldra Dog Sanctuary, was formerly known as Quintinha Dos Animais. This animal shelter for dogs takes in abandoned and stray dogs and focuses on re-homing. The refuge is run by Jan Henderson. Email: [email protected]  Telephone: 918895791

►   Refúgio dos BurrosBased in Quinta Sao João, Estombar, Lagoa. A donkey sanctuary with a small shelter for cats and dogs. The refuge was started in 1989 by Peter Lee Lander and Nan Richardson. There are three charity shops, in Lagoa, Carvoeiro and Ferragudo to raise funds for this sanctuary.
[email protected]

►   SOS Algarve Animals: SOS Algarve Animals re-homes between 300 and 400 dogs, cats, puppies and kittens every year, as well as sterilizing approximately 600 dogs and cats each year. This is not a shelter as such but a home where animals are rehabilitated until they are well trained and able to go to a loving forever home. Contact details: or email: [email protected]

►   Coração 100 DonoNext door to the New Goldra sanctuary, a charity run shelter that is in urgent need of funds in order to continue their good work. Email: [email protected]

Most of these refuges evolved from somebody helping abandoned or ill treated animals and unintentionally expanding into a refuge. These people have devoted their lives to helping animals and are totally dependent on donations and helping hands:

Dogs in a sanctuary

  • To find homes for the animals
  • Volunteers to help with animal care and sanctuary maintenance
  • Groomers to keep the animals in good shape
  • Foster parents and walkers
  • To provide medical attention to injured animals
  • To provide vaccinations and neutering for all animals
  • Donations of collars, leads, brushes, kennels or crates are always welcomed.
  • Donations of pet food or money.


Many pets have been abandoned by owners who have moved away or were left behind when an owner died; still others just got lost and live in hope to be reunited with their owner; and many more born into life on the streets and desperate for a loving home.

Some vets help the refuges by selling calendars with photos of rescued animals and their new owners, or by advertising rescued animals on their poster boards and introducing adoptable pets to their clients. So, across the length and breadth of the Algarve there are helping hands trying to alleviate some of the misery maybe you would like to join this band of special people?

If you are considering buying property in the Algarve and would like to help in some way after making the move, you will be welcomed with open arms by any of the Algarve sanctuaries.


More info:

Cats & Dogs in the Algarve

Markets in the Algarve

Algarve carnivals

Bird watching in the Algarve



Information provided by your best online resource for property for sale in the Algarve