Costa Rica Animal Shelter – San Rafael de Heredia

Cost Rica animal

Cost Rica's Animal Shelter near San Rafael has a great adopt a dog and cat program.

After the Jan. 8 Cinchona earthquake, dogs were running free, which caused problems. The Costa Rica Animal Shelter near San Rafael de Heredia rescued many and placed them in new homes.

The shelter also offers veterinary care and spay/neuter services and is run and operated by Dutch expat Lilian Schnog. The shelter also offers an adopt a pet dog, puppy or cat program,  all is require is a small donation, a bigger one if you can afford it. :-)

However, if you are without money for, care is not refused, but a donation is sometimes forced upon you. Which is Okay, the shelter operates on a shoe string budget and relies on donations from other animals rights organizations world-wide to help with the daily operation.

All animals that are set aside for adoption have been spayed or neutered. The dogs mostly are of mutt breed, and not the expensive purebred canines.

The shelter is “no kill policy” so many of the dogs and cats that are not adopted remain there for their natural life span. Only for humanitarian reasons are the animals killed, such as cancer and diabetics.

Sterilization clinics are also held around the country with Saturday visits to Aguas Zarcas, Playas del Coco, and Limón programmed for October.

The shelter does have fund raising events the next one is the “Cause for Paws” which is an auction that is scheduled for Oct. 15 in Escazu. It also has a sterilization programs that are held in clinics in Aguas Zarcas, Playas del Coco, and Limón sometime in October.

The shelter is a bit hard to find. The most common reference is the Castillo Country Club. It is above San Rafael de Heredia on the road to Los Angeles.  The shelter is on the right about four kilometers above the intersection of the main square in San Rafael. If you are planing to go it it, and are unfamiliar with the area, get a map or asked for better directions. Most people that drive in Costa Rica know, the roads can be very confusing.

More information is available at 2267-7158 (English spoken). Offices are open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday and on Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. –  private donations are greatly appreciated.

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  1. Dani Jones says:

    Hello there,
    I rescued a little puppy about 8-10 weeks old.  He is mixed.  Unfortunately I can not keep him because I am a student here in Costa Rica, but am moving Thursday May 16th.  I just did not have the heat to leave him and wanted to find him a good home.  Please contact me at daniusc123(at) if you are interested.
    Thank you

  2. Rebecca says:

    Aren't there any veterinarians in San Jose who have a conscience and aren't just after the big bucks? After 10 months in Costa Rica, I will be returning to the states with my little dog next month and it's going to cost me $150, (that's not counting the $75 plane ticket). The vets charge $100 for the health certificate and $50 for the shots (which is probably about $5 of serum). It's a piece of paper, people. They spend three minutes looking in the dog's ears, the assistant fills out the paper and you hand over a lot of hard earned money. Yes, I know they take the certificate to the ministry to get it approved and the ministry takes its cut but I could do that myself for a lot less than $150. If I was actually getting $150 worth of treatment it would be different but the vets are just taking advantage of foreigners (Americans) because they know we'll pay whatever we have to take our beloved critters home with us. Just because you can rip people off doesn't mean you should or you have to. Rebecca

  3. Olivier Gilles de Pelichy says:

    My wife is looking for two dalmatian dogs she entrusted to a finca when we left Costa Rica two years ago. As the new owner remains rather vague about their whereabouts and condition, my wife is distressed the dogs may have been discarded and ended up at an animal shelter. Heredia is a distinct possibility. Knowing your reputation we sure would welcome it.
    Sincere thanks for any information.



    My wife is looking for two dalmatian dogs she entrusted to a finca when we left Costa Rica two years ago. As the new owner remains rather vague about their whereabouts and condition, my wife is distressed the dogs may have been discarded and ended up at an animal shelter. Heredia is a distinct possibility. Knowing your reputation we sure would welcome it.
    Sincere thanks for any information.

    • Carol Dreeszen says:

      Hi..I just happen to find your note here while doing some searching. I have a friend in Atenas, Costa Rica who also has a shelter and I forwarded your note to her to see if there was anyway she might be able to find anything out…I can't guarantee you anything but it's worth a try!!

  5. I am the volunteer president of the AHPPA.
    AHPPA has the animalshelter and an animal hospital on their facilites. This year we will be helping animals for 20 year. Our main go is to neuter the animals in Costa Rica there still are too many unwanted dogs/cats roaming the streets. Our hospital neuters appr. between 40 and 50 animals per day. In May we started doing our rural animal neuter poject. Thanks to Humane Society International and Linda Wallace.
    We are very proud to say that we did from the end of May 2011until the end of July 2011 882 dogs/cats. Our neuter programs are in the distand comunity were there are no vets availabel. All our animals are neutered before adopted.
    Our neuter programs are a no/lo cost. Anybody can have their animal fixed with or without paying. We have struggled for 20 years and we keep on fighting, we can help more with your help! No donation is too small! visit our website.

  6. Robert Schroeder says:

    I would like to say that I have adopted more than 10 animals from the animal shelter, and I have come to know Lilian Schmog very well and count her a friend. She has dedicated her life to helping animals and to educating the Costa Rican public who were and still are in many ways the most uncaring people when it come’s to caring for animals, with the use of herbacides for poisoning animals to die in agony, leaving animals to find food in the streets, leaving them to rot along the road when they are killed etc.

    I challange anyone to find better vetranary care & or facilities in this country and at prices that bairly pay the wages of the employees. I have had dog’s poisoned several times and the people worked for hours to successfuly save them, I have had dog’s snake bit, run over on purpose by drivers that were sved at the clinic. I must say that I love animals mre than a lot of humans and I drive for an hour to go to the clinic and Lillian and wouldn’t consider going anywhere else.

  7. Robert Schroeder says:

    We have a nice Quinta with lot’s of room and we would like to save a large aggresive dog from being put to sleep. No Pit Bulls or Doberman Pinchers wanted. I tried to contact Chris but the email given will not mail.

    Schroeder Family

  8. marco antonio says:

    me gustaria un beagle cachorro para mi y la familia mi cuñado que es un niño y mi esposa acaban de sufrir una perdida de la abuela y quiero brindarles un poco de alegria en estos momentos

    • admin says:

      Marco’s Translation: I would like a beagle puppy for my family and my brother who is a child and my wife have just suffered a loss of grandmother and I give a little joy at the moment

    • Dani Jones says:

      Yo tenog un perrito, él es sobre 8-10 semanas de edad.  Yo creo el perrito tengo un poco beagle, pero yo no se exactamente.   El perrito es un amor.  mi correo electronico es

  9. chris says:

    I have 2 Rottweilers that I can no longer care for. One is a female who is very friendly with people and the other is a male who is a little more aggressive. I really need to find a place to take these dogs or I am going to have to put them to sleep. please respond to email. igotaway (at)

  10. israel salinas says:

    Hola yo quisiera adoctar un perro o perra golden retiever

  11. Zoila Sáenz says:


    Yo quiero adoptar dos perritas pastor aleman, las prefiero puppies y podrian ser hermanas, para vivir en una finca en Coronado.

    Tendran los mejores cuidados, la veterinaria Toyopan de Coronado es la que cuida de nuestras mascotas.

    Muchas gracias por su atención.

    Zoila Sáenz

    • Translation for Zoila
      I want to adopt two puppies German Shepherd puppies and might prefer them to be sisters, to live on a farm in Coronado.

      Will have the best care, veterinary Toyopán of Coronado is well taken care of our pets.

      Thank you very much for your attention.

      Zoila Sáenz

    • Hola Zolila en contacto Dogland Shelter

  12. Elmer Homero says:

    Jan.11 2011.I have a beautiful loyal and very well manered 6 yr old American Stafford, gets along well with other dogs and people. He is up to date with his shots, and in great health I am leaving costa rica at the end of this month and would like a caring person to adopt him. write me at

  13. My friend lost his beloved golden retriever/lab mix a while back. I am trying to help him find a similar dog to adopt. Any dogs like this available? We are in Puerto Viejo, but will travel.

  14. Volunteer says:


    Is there any possibility to work for some days in the animal Shelter?
    I am in Costa Rica right now and really want to help the dogs!

    Please write back soon!

  15. BILLY RILEY says:

    we are looking for a baby cat tail white the mouth white white,paws of body black.brown or blue eyes.

  16. That isn’t true they ask for a donation when you bring a dog to them. My uncle went and he didn’t have any money and they took the dog anyways. What they might do is let the dog back into the streets cause there are a lot of stray dogs in Costa Rica. I live near this animal shelter and I recently adopted a puppy.

  17. jenny says:

    This is not a “no kill shelter”, please visit them often. and check their numbers. It is mathmatically impossible that they do what they claim. They are very profitable business and demand money for any animal brought to them. This is a shelter for profit, not for animal welfare. Please check them out before you leave a pet or an abandoned animal with them – the animals do not deserve to go to this ” shelter “. Please ask around.

  18. aj seaman says:

    I live in Santa Rosa de Santa Cruz, and just lost my beloved German Shepherd, Gomer, to an idiot racing his 4X4 on the beach in Brasilito. I live alone and have 1500 meters of enclosed property, and have the willingness/ability to care for one-or-more of your residents. You can email me or call 2652-9017.

  19. Jeanita says:

    It would be great to be able to see the dogs available on line. Do you have more photos. Cut dog on this page…

    • admin says:

      What you might want to do is go to their website and/or contract them. I/m sure they may be able to help you. Their link is on the post on the 1st paragraph

  20. Pamela Harp Gentry says:

    I love this story!! Keep up the good work and thank you for your loving hearts. What a difference you are making in the lives of these extraordinary creatures. “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Mahatma Gandhi


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