Dogs after rescue

Animal Rescue in Costa Rica

In 2015, Costa Rican government agencies brought seized and rescued companion animals from substandard conditions or illegal activities such as dog fighting to the animal shelter near San Jose. The shelter, run by the Asociación Humanitaria Para la Protección Animal (AHPPA), a partner organization in WellBeing International’s Global Dog Campaign, received, cared for, and adopted out most of the 407 animals brought to them by El Servicio Nacional de Salud Animal (SENASA) of the Department of Agriculture and Livestock in 2016. SENASA is the government agency responsible for overseeing animal welfare in the country. SENASA quickly discovered they had a reliable partner in AHPPA who could care for the animals and find them good homes. As a result, the number of animals seized by SENASA rapidly increased. Eventually, AHPPA also persuaded the OIJ (Organismo Investigación Judicial – the criminal investigation section of the national police) to seize animals found during raids of criminal enterprises. The shelter received over 13,000 seized animals in 2023. The chart below shows how dramatically animal shelter intake has increased since the government started bringing seized animals to the shelter.

AHPPA Animal Intakes & Adoptions (Chart)

Between 2010 and 2015, the majority of animal intakes were from animals that were surrendered by their owners. However, the number of owner surrenders decreased from around 2,000 animals per year in 2015 and previous years to less than 500 animals per year from 2016 onward. On the other hand, the number of animals seized by government agencies and brought to AHPPA increased from around 4,000 in 2016 to 13,218 in 2023.

The chart above illustrates the significant increase in animal adoptions from the shelter since 2015. Consequently, despite the growth in intake, the number of animals euthanized (mainly due to disease, injury, or old age) has remained relatively low, in the hundreds. AHPPA had collaborated with an international animal protection organization for several years to provide support for the rescued animals, but this support has now ceased. Nevertheless, AHPPA continues its efforts to provide care and find homes for the rescued animals.

Photos of the most recent seizure of animals by government agencies on May 16 illustrate the poor conditions for the seized animals, the runs where they were kept and rehabilitated at AHPPA, and a few “After” images of the dogs with their adoptive families. A month later, nearly all the dogs had been rehabilitated and adopted!

Dogs before rescue

The photos illustrate the positive outcomes for the animals, SENASA, and the OIJ. The program also delivers positive outcomes for the AHPPA staff, who can take heart when rescued animals are placed in loving homes.

Happy dogs and their humans. Photo credit: Joana Rueda

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