save our scruff toronto

Toronto rescue just brought in 88 dogs from Costa Rica

The cost to bring dogs to Canada during COVID-19 remains high but one rescue successfully got 88 dogs from Costa Rica to Toronto safely this week.

The 88 dogs landed at Pearson International Airport in the morning of Friday, July 9 thanks to the efforts of Save our Scruff dog rescue, the rescue's executive director Jenna Bye tells blogTO.

About half of the dogs have found adoptive families and the rest went to foster families.

save our scruff toronto

The 88 dogs arrived in Toronto on July 9.

Save our Scruff has partnered with Charlie's Angels Animal Rescue in Costa Rica since 2018. Unfortunately, Charlie's Angels is closing their shelter and needed to find homes for the dogs.

"They had no other option for the dogs."

There is a dog overpopulation problem in Costa Rica, and some dogs don't do well on the streets.

"They need to intervention to survive."

The 88 dogs left Costa Rica in the evening of July 8 and arrived early July 9. All the dogs are healthy and vetted before arriving in Canada. They are a range of ages and sizes but mostly Terrier mixes along with a couple of hounds.

The dogs were mostly happy, some a little nervous, when arriving at the airport, Bye says.

"You would be moving a crate and all you hear was their tail wagging on the side of the crate," she says.

It is still difficult to bring dogs to Canada because of COVID-19 travel restrictions. Before the rescue would have tourists bring dogs back home on flights but now they have to charter flights.

"Booking a plane is substantially high in price."

The flight from Costa Rica cost around $76,000 US but there is also costs at customs, shipping travel crates for the dogs and transportation from the airport.

save our scruff toronto

Some of the dogs were nervous but many were happy to meet people in Toronto.

They also vet the dogs in Costa Rica and again in Canada.

Adoption fees cover some costs but they have a $40,000 fundraising goal to cover the costs. Thus far they have raised about $15,000 for this rescue and those interested in helping out can make a donation here.

Despite the costs, they have brought in hundreds of dogs from places such as Jamaica, Mexico, Dominican Republic and the Cayman Islands. The pandemic has put additional stress on overseas shelters.

"A lot of these shelters are bursting at the seams."

save our scruff toronto

The dogs come in all shapes and sizes but many are Terrier mixes.

Those interested in adopting a Costa Rica dog can find more information on the adoption page once the dogs are ready in a few weeks or you can fill out a waitlist application now.

Photos by

Kristen Avery Photography

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