About four thousand beagles are looking for their forever homes after animal rescue organizations, such as The Humane Society of the United States, Homeward Trails Animal Rescue, and Kindness Ranch Animal Sanctuary started removing the dogs from Envigo RMS LLC’s facility in Cumberland, Virginia, which bred them to be sold to laboratories for animal experimentation.
“Four thousand is a big number,” said Kitty Block, president and CEO of The Humane Society Of The United States. “And it’s going to take 60 days to get all of these animals out, and working with our shelter and rescue partners across the country, working with them to get these dogs into eventually into ever-loving home.”
In May, the U.S. Department of Justice sued Envigo alleging Animal Welfare Act violations at the facility.
Government inspectors found that beagles there were being killed instead of receiving veterinary treatment for easily treated conditions; nursing mother beagles were denied food; the food that they did receive contained maggots, mold and feces; and over an eight-week period, 25 beagle puppies died from cold exposure.
Other dogs suffered from injuries when they were attacked by other dogs in overcrowded conditions.
The effort to rescue beagles has its origins much earlier, according Bill Stanley, a Republican senator for Virginia’s 20th district.
“Back in 2019, we discovered that there was a place in Cumberland County that was breeding beagles, beautiful beagle dogs for experimentation,” said Stanley. “I tried to shut them down in 2019, but was not successful. But over the years, we never stopped fighting.”
The Humane Society of the United States brought 201 beagles to its care and rehabilitation center, where they will receive care until they are transported to organizations experienced with dealing with animals that come with trauma like the beagles, such as Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA), Wisconsin Humane and Dakin Humane.