After being stalled in Costa Rica’s legislative assembly for months an animal welfare bill has finally been passed by President Solís’ administration. Up until now, animal abuse was only considered a minor offense in Costa Rica and anyone found guilty could receive charges of up to 200,000 colones, only about 370 U.S. dollars.

Following a horrific incident in which a dog lost its upper jaw in a machete attack there was public outcry for the government to pass the legislation.  Passing The Animal Welfare Law was one of Solís’ campaign promises and apparently a personal goal of his.

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Territoreo de Los Zaguates (Land of The Strays) in Alajuela

The new legislature includes sentences of six months to two years for those who “cause harm to an animal that has a persistent weakening effect on its health or which causes it to lose one of its senses, an organ, a part of its body or makes it unable to use an organ or part of its body, or which causes it suffering, intense pain, or prolonged agony,” according to the law.

However, the law will not apply to animals in the agriculture industries which includes animals in fisheries, breeding centers or farms. It also doesn’t apply to any animal that is hunted for food on the part of a family.

The new law also demands that people owning animals provide suitable living conditions including food, water, shelter, and space. Furthermore animal welfare will become a larger factor in education so that citizens learn to respect their creature companions from a young age.

Also under the new law a task force, CATPAD in Spanish, has been assembled in order to provide special care for animals, especially in the situation of a national emergency and or natural disaster. Local police forces are also receiving training on how to deal with situations of animal abuse or animals in danger. The non-profit organization The International Humane Society has helped with the aforementioned training.

Photo Credit: Grettel Rojas