Animals in Costa Rica

Starving Stafford Terrier Rescued

Animals in Costa Rica are not limited to the howler monkey, the friendly raccoon-like pizoti, or any of the stunning varieties of tropical birds. Visitors and tourists to this beautiful country are often disheartened at the large number of dogs who abound its citys, towns and beach areas — whom are often suffering from lack of nutrition, parasites, and abandonment. Many rib-thin dogs can be seen throughout Costa Rica scavenging through trash in search of food.

Abuse to these poor domesticated, yet uncared for animals is obvious: rope or chain burns around heads, necks and legs; severe skin infections and lesions; hobbling due to broken bones and other inflictions.  Abuse is a horrific problem in Costa Rica and far too common.

Pet owners’ unchecked spay and neutering procedures keep this population of street dogs at record levels throughout Costa Rica. This is due in part to the lack of knowledge and/or lack of monies of the local people to have their animals castrated.  In addition, many people do not hold an animal (their pet) in high esteem — as a dog is often chained to a post in the yard to alert and prevent unwanted intruders — while little care given in return.


The Refugio Helps

On the road

It is for these animals in Costa Rica, that AHPPA (locally referred to as the Refugio) works very hard to educate the public and to provide low-cost, and often no-cost services, to reduce the over-population of street dogs around the country. Furthermore, no animal is refused treatment if it can be operated on or treated with a good chance of recovery. You can read about a few of the many animals’ stories on our blog or Facebook page; stories about second chances, thanks to the Refugio’s Sanctuary.

AHPPA consists of a  3.5 acre shelter in the mountains of San Rafael de Heredia, Costa Rica. The shelter includes a clinic staffed by trained veterinarians along side a handful of local employees that work at maintaining the facility and manning the office and Pet Store.  We are truly grateful for our dedicated staff, many of whom have worked for years at The Refugio.


Non-Profit Status of AHPPA

Animal Charity in Costa Rica

AHPPA Non-Profit

The Refugio is a legally registered non-profit organization, an animal shelter in Costa Rica under the name,  “Asociacion Humanitaria Para la Proteccion de Animal” (AHPPA) and in English translates to, “Humanitarian Association for the Protection of Animals.”  Residents of Costa Rica can make tax deductible donations to AHPPA via checks or deposits to local banks.

We offer several options for your gift of helping the animals in Costa Rica.  Review the different options for donations.




Spay and Neuter

Several programs have been implemented by AHPPA to benefit the needs of Costa Rica’s uncared for animals nation wide.  Over the years a campaign to educate the Costa Rica people was initiated with our Spay & Neuter Program, responsible for castrating over 200,000 animals over the past twenty years.  And out Outreach Program whereby selected veterinarians travel to the poorest out laying, remote areas throughout Costa Rica to set-up temporary clinic tents offering low or no-cost spay and neutering services, vaccinations and minor first aid. This program is costly but important in helping to educate the public on becoming responsible pet ownersView more details on our  Spay and Neuter Outreach Program.


Sponsor a Dog: Retirement Home for Dogs

Sponsor Me!

For a variety of reasons, older dogs are occasionally brought to the Refugio; typically the owner has died or become ill, has moved, or is simply no longer able, or wanting, to care for the animal.  Usually in good health and social with other dogs, they are not popular for adoption because of their age or health issues and thus live out their life in a safe retirement compound, our Sanctuary, within the AHPPA shelter’s property.

AHPPA invites you to consider our Sponsor a Dog program. You can help with the of caring for these older dogs, including food, vaccinations and medications for only $25 per month.  Our staff and pre-screened volunteers spend time with the retirees, offering love and human interaction.  We need your help to give these ol’ boys and girls a long and healthy life. View more details on our Sponsor a Dog Program.


What About Cats & Kittens?

Adopt a Kitty in Costa Rica

Adopt a Kitty

Although one doesn’t see cats as much as one notices the dogs, they are here, just not as many.  Until a litter is born. And then another, and another. The Refugio performs the same clinical and emergency services for cats as they do dogs (and includes rabbits, geese and wildlife!).  Too often a litter of kittens will be left at our gates; each kitten will each get castrated and vaccinated and put up for adoption. Older, unwanted cats, once fixed or repaired end up Refugio residents keeping staff and other animals company. If you’re looking to adopt a kitty, please visit us!




You Can Help… Wherever You Are!

Animals In Need

Learn more about AHPPA and how much we depend on donations from people who live here and from those who visit our country and are touched by the plight of the animals in Costa Rica. Will you help us help the animals of Costa Rica… donations are greatly appreciated!


Lilian Schnog, President & Director, AHPPA Costa Rica