Jaco News - Helping our Chained-up Friends in Costa Rica
IT’S RAINY SEASON HERE IN COSTA RICA. WE NOW HAVE SO MANY STORMS, ALL WITH RAIN, THUNDER AND LIGHTNING. AND SO MANY DOGS IN JACO AND SURROUNDING AREAS ARE TIED UP ON A SHORT ROPE, WITH NO SHELTER, NOWHERE TO HIDE, AND NO WAY TO ESCAPE IF THE PROPERTY FLOODS.
All over the world there are people who believe that dogs should live outside. So their dogs are kept tied up, because if they were free they would escape the yard. Many animal lovers in these countries are trying to get those dogs off the chain, offering the owners the solution of installing a fence (for those who don’t have any) or extensions for the existing fence if the dogs can jump over it. There are organizations collecting donations and building fences for chained animals in cases when the owner cannot afford it.
Unfortunately this is not the reality here in Costa Rica, where we live and work.
Most people here, especially in the little towns and villages, don’t have a fence, nor can they afford any. And they will keep their dogs tied up, because they think that this will make them good guards. Or, they believe that this will make them more intimidating to potential thieves. Or they are afraid that they will run away or get killed by a car. Or simply because their parents had their dogs chained up, and this is the only way they know to keep a dog.
After some time, these dogs become quite anti-social, becoming more and more wild and scary, especially if they are by themselves with no possibility to socialize with other dogs or humans. As a result, as soon as they are off chain they run away, chase cars and bicycles, attack people and other dogs – not a good scenario.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
People here don’t like it when somebody tells them how to deal with their animals. They believe that they own their dogs, and as the owners, they can do whatever they want with the animal. It’s very difficult talking to them about something that they are doing wrong without offending them.
But there is almost always a way to start a friendly conversation with them, which later gives us the possibility to address the problem and discuss with them possible solutions.
Building fences is not an option for us, as we simply don’t have the funds for it. But what we can do is install a long cable runner. It’s not a perfect solution, but it will give the animal much more freedom than what he has on a short rope, which is what most of the people use down here.
Please help us in finding dogs that are chained-up, and installing runners and shelters for them. Once we do this, we’ll stay in touch with the family, talking to them and teaching them how to properly take care of their animals. We’ll show them how to walk them and feed them, and how to make sure that they will not drown in a storm. We bring them magazines, flyers and all kinds of materials that we want them to read and learn. This is a great way to change not only the dogs life, but also the people’s attitudes on how they should care for them. This is the way to make sure that their next dog will have a better life.
It’s cheap to install a runner for a dog – only 6 to 10 dollars, depending how long it is. With this runner, a dog will have between 18 sqm and 30 sqm of free moving space. We can install it so that one end will end up at the terrace, so the dog may stay close to the people and have shelter when it’s raining. If there is no dog house, we will ask the owner to contribute to the project of building it. If he doesn’t have materials to build, we can help with that. We can also help if both materials and labor is needed. In all these years we’ve been working with and for animals, we have built many dog houses and runners.
But we need your help in order to first find all the dogs in need, and then to install for them runners and shelters.
We would like to start this program now, as the rains and storms make these dogs lives even more miserable than they already are. We have all kinds of info which you will need, should you decide to be part of this great project. Please look around your neighborhood and give us a call at 2-643-4012 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org – We will go with you to talk to your neighbors and help install the first runner, and if necessary, the shelter as well. Once you see how easy it is, you will be able to do it yourself and also teach your friends how to do it.
HOW DO WE FINANCE THIS PROJECT?
The costs of making a runner using 6 to 10 meters of special cable, with all the materials we would need, will be around $6.00 – $10.00 for each dog. If they don’t have a collar, (unfortunately this happens quite often - instead of a collar, they just have a rope or a heavy chain around their necks, and it’s mostly too tight) we will also need a collar, which depending on the size of the animal will be another $5.00 - $7.00. The most expensive part is the actual shelter – sometimes we are lucky, and there is already some kind of shelter that we just need to adjust and fix, but if there is none and we will have to pay for both materials and labor, it will cost us between $70.00 and $100.00, depending on the size and design.
Our supporter for years, Mrs. Linda Look, has offered to sponsor this project. If you would also like to be a part of it, please let us know. Together we can make it happen!
Thank you for your time and support.