Society & Culture
#044 - Lya Battle - Queen of the Strays
High in the mountains of Costa Rica, there is a shelter and sanctuary for over 900 previously stray dogs, known as Territorio de Zaguates. Lya Battle is the founder of this “Dogtopia,” where the endless drool of delight is matched only by Lya’s heart-warming energy.
Territorio de Zaguates is a 10-acre plot of land for the dogs to live “cage-free and open range.” This nonprofit animal rescue and shelter was founded over 10 years ago by the husband-and-wife team of Alvaro Saumet and Lya Battle to promote spaying and neutering, animal welfare, and respect. It is 100% funded by donations and run by volunteers.
Lya has been featured on Business Insider and National Geographic, and she opens up the animal rescue property on weekends for the public to visit. In private, she is engaged in an uphill battle against the local community and other regulatory entities.
The lead up to this episode was about as good of a day as we could've asked for (video here). The first episode of our Save the Deena Tour – we rode 45 minutes from Heredia through the mountains to see the pups. Lya released them all at one time and they ran down a valley into a ravine towards us, before running up through the mountainside. The volunteers and workers that take care of the animals showed us the value of love that’s possible. Lya gave us a few interviews while playing with the pups before we sat down for the show.
In this episode we focus on animal rescue organizations and animal consciousness, and we learn how Lya’s background led to her love of helping dogs (especially the ugly ones!) Lya walks us through the need for education and how to go about it, what it takes to create cultural shifts, and why some groups don’t approve of what she’s doing. What does she think of PETA and the Yulin Dog Festival? How does she pay for food and care? All that and more in this episode.
The stray animal shelter operates on donations and gifts of all types, you can donate to Lya here and just $36 can pay for an entire dog to be taken care of.
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