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May 16, 2013

Eighteen Dogs Rescued from Animal Fighting Ring in Costa Rica

Humane Society International supports the Costa Rican authorities in their struggle against animal fights

Humane Society International/Latin America

  • Cynthia Dent, Regional Director of HSI/Latin America, inspected the rescued dogs before being moved to a safe location. HSI

SAN JOSÉ, Costa Rica – Humane Society International joined the Servicio Nacional de Salud Animal, the Costa Rican animal health service, as well as law enforcement authorities on their latest raid targeting the clandestine breeding and keeping of dogs used for fighting. Despite the illegal nature of the activity, dog fights still remain a fixture in specific areas of the country. The raid, which took place on Monday after several weeks of intelligence gathering and follow up work, resulted in the rescue and seizure of 18 dogs.

Prior undercover work had determined the location of this breeding facility, which sold litters to the dog fighting industry for as much as $300 a puppy. During the raid, eight American Staffordshire Terrier and 10 mixed breed dogs were confiscated. Two of the mixed breed dogs are pregnant, in addition to a third dog that had recently given birth to a litter. The animals were kept in makeshift, unsanitary cages, with as many as six dogs being kept in a single enclosure. Several dogs showed scars associated with the fights, and at least one puppy required immediate veterinary care in order to treat its wounds.

“What we have found here further showcases the inherent cruelty of animal fights: adult dogs scarred from their fights,  being kept in rundown, cramped cages, and puppies being prepared for sale into a life of untold suffering,” said Cynthia Dent, regional director for HSI/Latin America. “The Costa Rican authorities are making a significant effort to address this issue, as the work that led to this latest raid proves, and they can rest assured that HSI will continue to support and assist them.”

Alan Sanchez, director of SENASA for San Jose said “We will continue to rescue and protect dogs from the mistreatment and abuse inflicted upon them in the animal fighting underworld.”

Dogs raised for fighting are conditioned from an early age to fight to the death, and even when they survive the ring, they often die from their wounds. Others are scarred and permanently maimed, submitted to great suffering for years. Animal fighting is often intertwined with gambling, drug dealing, illegal gun sales and murder.

The dogs that are commonly used for dog fighting will be sent to a rehabilitation center for veterinary and behavioral assessment to determine the likelihood of their reeducation and eventual adoption.

Pictures of the rescue are available through the media contact below.


Media Contact:

Raúl Arce-Contreras: 301-721-6440; rcontreras@humanesociety.org

Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute the world’s largest animal protection organization. For more than 20 years, HSI has been working for the protection of all animals through the use of science, advocacy, education and hands on programs. Based in San Jose, Costa Rica, HSI/Latin America is active in programs related to companion animals, wildlife and farm animal welfare. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide – on the Web at hsi.org.

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