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July 22, 2015

Historic ruling in favor of animal welfare in Costa Rica

Dogs rescued from breeding puppy mill in La Union by Humane Society International, SENASA and ANPA

Humane Society International/Latin America

  • One of the 64 dogs rescued back in April, 2015. Amanda Chaves/HSI

The Court of La Unión de Tres Ríos made a major ruling in favor of animal welfare in Costa Rica after convicting a person for breeding dogs in an illegal breeding facility, or puppy mill. Humane Society International /Latin America applauded the court for its historic ruling, the first against a puppy mill. HSI worked with the National Animal Health Service to make the case for conviction.

The case goes back to April 17 with a seizure of 64 dogs, including French Poodles, Maltese, Shih Tzu, Chihuahuas, Yorkshire Terrier and Pekingese. The court found the defendant promoted the illegal breeding of animals for sale. SENASA followed through on a complaint and found the illegal activities, requesting a search warrant so the case could be brought to the courts. The assailant was recognized as guilty of the acts for which he was accused, and ultimately fined.

Cynthia Dent, regional director for HSI/Latin America, said: "No animal should be subjected to or forced to live in deplorable conditions as those 64 dogs. We are grateful to SENASA and the National Association for Animal Protection –ANPA for allowing us to collaborate in the seizure of these animals, and we are relieved because soon these dogs will find a loving home. We will continue to support and collaborate with SENASA and other local animal protection organizations to achieve higher levels of animal welfare in Costa Rica. "

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Most of the rescued dogs had been kept in air cages for many years of their lives, dirty, crowded into unsanitary conditions. Before being rescued, many had never seen sunlight or received veterinary care. Breeding dogs were forced to give birth time and again, and their owners benefited from selling their puppies. After the rescue, the dogs were examined by a veterinarian, who found that eight were pregnant, including some at high risk of death because of their age. Some dogs were found with eye infections, teeth in bad conditions, hearing problems, scabies, extremely long nails, and many had badly healed broken bones and other problems.

"Dogs released following the trial will be spayed or neutered prior to being put up for adoption. We hope that the suffering they endured for so long will soon be a distant memory, and that the newborn pups can play on grass instead of living helpless in cages," said Dent.

HSI-Latin America and ANPA encourage people looking to add a pet to their family to adopt rather than buy puppies in pet stores or on puppy mills. In puppy mills, animals are bred to be sold, the focus being financial gain and not animal welfare. Dogs bred in these facilities tend to live in small wire cages with little or no attention, no exercise and mostly lack of veterinary care.

"This ruling’s important legal precedent, and significant media coverage will serve to warn puppy mill owners about the consequences of the legal nature of the mistreatment of animals," said Gisela Vico, president of ANPA.

Media Contacts:

In Costa Rica: Cynthia Dent, cdent@hsi.org, (506) 22 34 02 49
In the U.S: Raúl Arce-Contreras, rcontreras@humanesociety.org, +1 (301) 721-6440

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