How to act: regarding the spraying of public places with dangerous, life-threatening chemicals:

* Ascertain what the current legislation is regarding the spraying of public places with dangerous, life-threatening chemicals. In Lisbon, the place to get it from is the Imprensa Nacional, Rua da Escola Politécnica, Lisboa. It is crucial to be familiar with the law and show that you know what you are talking about. I think it is also possible to get this information on the web, but you need to be a subscriber to the service;
* Send a formal protest to the Town Hall (Câmara), demanding that the people responsible be identified and disciplined under the applicable law. You should give them a deadline, say one month, to respond, failing which you will take whatever steps you may deem appropriate (this should be done by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt – 'carta registada com aviso de recepção');

If no response is forthcoming at the end of this period:

* Report the facts to as many as possible regional and national papers;
* Report the facts to the Ministry for the Environment and the Ministry of Heath (the government department to write to is the so-called Subdelegação Regional de Saúde, in the Algarve) respectively.
* Write to the Provedor de Justiça, at the Provedoria de Justiça, Lisbon.
* Write to the MP for his "círculo" at the Assembleia da República, Lisbon. Demand that the law be enforced (this is why they are elected and paid with taxpayers’ money);
* File a formal complaint with the Police (PSP).


As more cases of illnesses associated with the West Nile virus are diagnosed in humans and equines, communities have begun to step up their control programs with the spray application of pesticides. To limit your pet's exposure to these chemicals when your area is being sprayed, the ASPCA

Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) offer the following tips:

- Know when pesticides will be sprayed in your community, so you'll be able to keep pets indoors during these times. Note that elderly or debilitated animals--particularly those with heart disease or asthma--may be more sensitive to airborne pesticides and chemicals.

- Close windows and turn off window-unit air conditioners while spraying is taking place.

- Bring pet dishes and toys inside. If any items have been accidentally exposed to the spray, wash them well with soap and water.

- Keep horses in their stalls or in a lean-to, and be sure to cover water troughs and buckets.

- If you have an outdoor fishpond, be sure to cover it when your community is being sprayed. Your piscine pets can be very sensitive to certain pesticides.

- If you suspect that your pet is experiencing difficulties as a result of exposure to pesticides, contact your veterinarian immediately.