Ufrgs orders an NGO, which has been operating at Campus do Vale for over 13 years, to vacate the site

Ufrgs orders an NGO, which has been operating at Campus do Vale for over 13 years, to vacate the site

Associação Patas Dadas announced this week that it was evicted from its place of action, a kennel located on Campus do Vale, owned by the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (Ufrgs). The NGO has been acting in defense of the animal cause for over a decade, and has already donated more than 1,000 dogs and cats.

In 2009, after cases of dog poisoning, a group of students got together and created a group for the care and protection of animals on Campus do Vale. Since 2016, as an Extension Project of the university, the NGO has a space, isolated from the classroom buildings, to house and care for the animals, a kennel with 48 individual stalls and a fenced patio for the dogs, built by the Infrastructure Superintendence (Suinfra ) from UFRGS.

In 2017, residents of an occupation in Viamão, which is a few meters from the kennel, on the border with Campus do Vale, charged the university for the barking. According to the Patas Dadas Association, many of the abandoned dogs that were treated and sheltered come from this same place. Since the complaint, Suinfra has monitored the noise through semi-annual reports, which indicated noise above the limit.

At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, in 2020, the volunteers met virtually and decided to remove the dogs from the kennel indefinitely. This was due to health issues, since the work with the animals was done in teams, one in the morning and another in the afternoon, every day of the week. The difficulty of commuting also influenced the decision, since bus trips suffered significant reductions in frequency in the period.

The solution found was to distribute the dogs in halfway houses – someone offers to shelter the animal in their home and the NGO provides food, medicine and whatever they need for basic care. But over time, some dogs were left without this temporary shelter and the project had to pay for paid accommodation, which generated huge costs, at a time of significant drop in donations.

After the advance of vaccination against Covid-19, in 2021, and due to the financial situation, activities at the kennel were gradually resumed. In emergency cases, the collected animal was taken to the kennel until a volunteer could transport it to receive medical attention.

In 2022, however, the coordination of the Associação Patas Dadas was called to a meeting with Suinfra, which warned of irregularities in the university premises. What happened was that the space’s Operating License had been suspended since 2020 and the NGO had not been notified.

After learning about the situation, the volunteers quickly tried to reverse the situation, seeking to regularize the space. The NGO claims that Suinfra has stopped responding to emails and communication with the university has gradually become more difficult. The Superintendence sent a communication through the university’s internal system, without notifying the coordination or the professor responsible for the project, demanding that the kennel be emptied.

Ufrgs Mathematics student, Julia Pocebon, has been a volunteer at the NGO since 2018. She claims that the kennel is essential for the project to function fully. “If the kennel is not open, we have nowhere to take these dogs, because getting a voluntary foster home is very difficult, and the payments only increase our debts, which we have no way of paying”.

The Patas Dadas Association lost the Extension Project, and continues with the irregular Operating License, despite attempts to revert this status. Ufrgs demands that all objects belonging to the NGO, mostly donations, be removed from the site immediately. That’s why, a petition was created, as yet another effort to get the acting space back. Julia says that the situation saddens the volunteers. “It generates not only revolt but also the pain of seeing the animals there and not being able to do anything. We want our kennel back and we will fight for our kennel.”

The report of Jornal do Comércio contacted the Ufrgs communication office, which informed that the Office of the Rectory did not issue any position on the case.

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