A Brazilian priest is praised for being committed to bringing stray dogs to his public, introducing them to parishioners for potential adoption.
Joo Paulo Araujo Gomes, 51, has served in the Caruaru diocese since February 2013. according to a viral reddit postHe “takes abandoned dogs off the streets, feeds them, bathes them, and then presents one dog to each group to be adopted.”
Gomes has reportedly led to the adoption of dozens of stray dogs, according to a post in the “Made Me Smile” forum that garnered more than 108,000 upvotes.
Brazil is famous for its colorful wildlife, and Brazilians have shown a love for animals.
According to the World Animal Protection Report from March 2020, Brazil had about 106 companion animals as of the end of 2013 – the fourth largest worldwide population at the time, and the second when only dogs and cats are considered.
According to World Animal Protection, in 2020, it was also estimated that there were about 52.2 million dogs and 22.1 million cats in Brazil, which includes a total population of about 30 million stray dogs and cats.
Stray animals attracted attention at the time of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, as they were reportedly removed and killed by the Brazilian authorities. This caused the city of Rio to remove about 900 vagabonds from its streets the following year.
But it was several years earlier, in 2008, when So Paulo became the first state in Brazil to enact a law banning the killing of stray dogs and cats as a population control exercise.
By comparison, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), citing 2019 data compiled by Shelter Animals Count, says that about 6.3 million animals enter U.S. animal shelters annually — a decline from about 7.2 million in 2011. . Of those 6.3 million animals, about 3.1 million are dogs and about 3.2 million are cats.
In this, approximately 920,000 shelter animals are euthanized annually, with cats making up about 530,000 of those euthanized. The figure of 920,000 is a significant reduction from the 2.6 million euthanized in 2011.
About 4.1 million shelter animals are adopted each year – a split between dogs and cats – and about 810,000 animals are returned to owners as strays. Of those 810,000, more than 700,000 are dogs.
Gomes’ Facebook page has several posts about adopting both a dog and a cat, as well as photos of dogs sleeping on the “icy floor in the middle of summer in Caruaru” during prayer services. In some pictures, his own dogs are also seen sleeping on his bed.
“How often our love for animals is criticized as insane,” Gomes wrote on Facebook on February 26. Post, “Unfortunately it is common to hear: liking people is more important. There is no love for animals that does not translate into love for others. Love will always be madness for hearts that care only about money, power and profit. do. I’m really happy to be mad for life anyway.”
Another post earlier that month said that Gomes “prayers for the victims, the rescued foster parents, the adoptive families.”
Redditors said Gomes’ action to bring dogs into the church was a lesson in compassion, discipline, and responsibility in an effort to keep the dogs in stable homes. Some said this would encourage them to go to mass every Sunday.
One user said, “All the good (stray) dogs go to this guy’s church.” “What a lovely man. This benefits the dogs and the community. A loyal four-legged friend can help overcome loneliness and a variety of depression/anxiety related mental health problems. Taking the dog for a walk” K activity helps keep you healthy and just. Having a pet can help heal a broken heart. And dogs get the loving owners and family they deserve. I love it Is.”
“If this is not supposed to be an act of the Lord, it should be!” Another user said. “Bless Joo Paulo Araujo Gomes for giving these animals the chance of a safe, healthy and fulfilling family life.”
Gomes’s well-known passion for animals extends beyond social media. He was featured in the season two episode of the Netflix series dogs Called Protector, which documented his work and inspired local grassroots groups to emulate his mission.
newsweek reached out to Gomes and the diocese for comment.