SAN JOSÉ, Costa Rica—Today concludes a week of training for more than 60 officials of the Judicial Investigation Agency (Organismo de Investigación Judicial, or OIJ), the federal department responsible for enforcing the anti-cruelty law in Costa Rica. Humane Society International/Latin America and the OIJ held training sessions to help officials enforce animal protection Law No. 9458, which reforms the country’s penal code by establishing prison sentences for cruelty to animals, including dog fighting.
Training topics included background on animal fights and their relationship to other serious crimes, investigating allegations and recognizing evidence of dogfighting and cockfighting, and studying cases such as animal neglect, puppy mills, and extreme cruelty. The training is part of an effort to help the OIJ comply with Law 9458 and increase the number of cruelty cases prosecuted in the country. It was led by Adam Parascandola, HSI’s Director of Animal Protection and Crisis Response, and Janette Reever, HSI’s Global Specialist on Dogfighting, Animal Protection, and Crisis Response.
HSI’s experts also trained officers on different ways to collect evidence appropriately, maintaining the chain of custody, and correct handling of confiscated animals. They emphasized that animal abuse is often an indicator of a violent person who can commit to other criminal acts, such as drug trafficking and domestic violence. The last day of the workshop featured a crime scene simulation, in which the officers were able to implement everything they learned during the week.
Amanda Chaves, program manager of Companion Animals for HSI/Latin America, highlighted the importance of support from authorities and society in general for the new law. “We reiterate our commitment to continue fighting against animal cruelty in Costa Rica. We are grateful for the priority that the Government has given animal welfare and we are proud to contribute to the implementation of the law. We urge citizens to file complaints and work together to eradicate animal abuse in this country.”
All officials trained in the workshops will return to their jobs better able to identify animals that have been used for fighting. They will act with greater expertise when animals are in danger and can coordinate better with the appropriate entities to rescue animals in cruelty situations. Donate to help animals worldwide.
Media contact: Amanda Chavez, Gerente del Programa de Animales de Compañía de HSI/Latinoamérica, (+506) 7018-4621, firstname.lastname@example.org