Our story

Bianca Associação – The Shelter

The Bianca shelter was founded in Sesimbra Portugal in July 2002 by Ana Duarte to rescue, treat and care for stray and abandoned dogs and cats with the hope of rehoming them to loving families. Originally the cats and dogs were living in the houses of volunteers as this was the only way Ana could help the abandoned animals in the vicinity. In 2006 the charity had 50 cats and dogs and now currently houses over 400. Unfortunately there was a time when there were more dogs than kennels and to keep them safe some had to be chained outside.  We are glad to report that the shelter has evolved over the years with all the dogs off chains and now living in kennels and the cats in a purpose built cattery. The charity rehomes dogs in Northern Europe on a weekly basis, but unfortunately more arrive requiring care from the shelter just as quickly as they can be homed.

Bianca Team

Bianca Team

The Bianca Associação is currently caring for:




Friends of Bianca

Friends of Bianca was established in December 2011. Whilst on holiday in Portugal our founders were overwhelmed by the many stray and abandoned dogs, most of whom displayed horrific signs of neglect, mistreatment and starvation and were shocked by the fact that there was no one to care for them except local overwhelmed charities run by volunteers. On their return home to Scotland they set up the Friends of Bianca charity which is run by 3 extremely committed trustees and some very good volunteers where their aim is to raise funds to help the shelter in anyway they need such as; supplying food, sending out medicines from our local vets and arranging for volunteers to go out to the shelter and help.

Friends of Bianca’s donations have also assisted in the following advancements at the shelter;

  • A purpose built wall around the complex to contain and keep the animals safe
  • A new secured van to assist with animal rescues and the comfortable transportation of the animals.
  • A clinic with equipment which helps Sara the vet, when she is on the premises,to carry out procedures that would have otherwise been sent to vets outside the shelter at a considerable cost.
  • A mother and puppy unit – Dogs that come in whilst pregnant have to be kept seperate from the other dogs which as you can imagine was very difficult as there were so many coming in every other day and limited space. The new unit elevates the conditions of the mothers to be.

We are a dedicated team and the shelter is very much on our minds all the time as we try to help Ana and the dogs and cats in Portugal. All money raised is sent to the shelter and no financial compensation is given to the trustees or volunteers.  We are simply dedicated to helping Ana and her team care for the animals at the shelter. I hope this gives you an insight to our work and also hope you can help us to ensure the shelter is maintained and the animals are looked after.