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December 11, 2015

Report Highlights Animals Rescued in 2015 in Costa Rica

Costa Rican Animal Health Department and Humane Society International/Latin America responded to nearly 3,924 animal welfare complaints

Humane Society International

  • HSI/Latin America's Amanda Chaves comforting a beagle dog rescued from neglect in Coronado, Costa Rica on August 31, 2015. Kent Gilbert/AP Images for HSI

  • A neglected dog from a hoarding rescue operation on August 31, 2015, is seen at a animal rescue shelter in San Rafael de Heredia, Costa Rica. Kent Gilbert/AP Images for HSI

The National Animal Health Department (SENASA) responded to nearly 3,924 complaints about animal welfare issues, including animal hoarding, puppy mills and dogfighting in Costa Rica’s metropolitan region in 2015, according to a report released today by the department. Humane Society International/Latin America, through its partnership with SENASA, has been involved in addressing these complaints.

Cynthia Dent, executive director of HSI/Latin America, said: "We are proud to contribute to the ongoing work of the Costa Rican authorities to ensure more humane conditions for all animals in the country. The way to achieve higher standards of animal welfare is not always easy, but we will continue to support and collaborate with SENASA and other local animal welfare organizations to help them achieve their goals."

Allan Sanchez, SENASA’s regional director, said: "Our partnerships with organizations such as Humane Society International/Latin America are vital to address all these animal welfare cases and provide a second chance to dogs seized in situations of neglect, abuse, severe malnutrition and other crimes.”

Help us continue this life-saving work.

The report findings include:

  • More than 50 animal hoarding cases and 40 complaints of puppy mills were reported during 2015
  • HSI and SENASA seized 510 dogs in 2015, including 338 dogs rescued in collaboration with American Stafford Costa Rica from dogfighting rings and underground farms, where dogs are used for attacks on pedestrians. 
  • More than 400 dogs rescued were adopted out after being spayed/neutered, dewormed and receiving veterinary care.
  • In conjunction with SENASA’s Animal Welfare Program, HSI helped train almost 200 police officers from the security forces and municipal police on animal handling.
  • The report detailed the historic ruling obtained against Fernando Contreras, who ran an illegal dog breeding facility in La Union. In April, HSI and SENASA rescued 64 dogs from appalling conditions at the facility. The Misdemeanor Court of the Union of Three Rivers of Cartago imposed the maximum penalty of 30 days in fines. It marked the first ruling against a puppy mill, and the first such case brought by SENASA.

The report covers the Metropolitan Central Region from Jan. 1 through Dec. 1, 2015. The Metropolitan Central Region includes the most populous cantons and districts in Costa Rica; a total of 116 districts with a population of about 1.5 million people.

Media Contact: Raul Arce-Contreras, rcontreras@humanesociety.org, 301.721.6440