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Dog Rescuer Requests Emergency Assistance

December 24, 2004

FIFTY-SIX rescued street dogs facedeath or a return to the streets if they arenot adopted by the end of the month,according to the woman who cares forthem.Officials from the Public HealthMinistry sent a notice this month toPatricia Artimaña, who lives in theremote community of Piedras Negras,near the farming town Ciudad Colón,southwest of San José, saying she mustreduce the number of dogs on her propertyto 30 or those that exceed that numberwill be “sacrificed.”Their ruggedly handsome looks andmutt appeal notwithstanding, the barkingof all 86 of the formerly homeless dogsdid them in. A neighbor complained aboutthe noise, Artimaña said, and now she islooking for homes for most of the dogsshe rescued from the streets. As a lastresort, she said, she will release those thatare not adopted onto the streets again toprevent their deaths.She has cared for street dogs forthree years in her spacious yard, a dogrefuge she named El Arca de Noe(Noah’s Arc).“I’m confronting serious problemswith (the Health Ministry) in spite ofhaving carried out all the asked-forchanges in the sanitary and solid-wastemanagement plan, as well as the confinementof noise,” she wrote to TheTico Times. “The ministry continues torefuse me permission to operaterequired… when the number of animalsis above 30.”She alleges officials “don’t worryabout animals, if there is a complaint theygive priority to people.”She said she has invested heavily inthe dogs, including hiring a full-timeassistant to care for them while she’s atwork, built covered sleeping areas aroundher house, where “they live like kings,”and spends more than $400 per month onfood. She also pays veterinary fees andhad every dog neutered, often at reducedprices by vets willing to help.Those interested in adopting one ormore of the dogs can call Artimaña at813-5118.

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