More than 400 beagles are removed from laboratory breeding facility in Virginia

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The Humane Society of the United States and several shelter and rescue partners embarked on a historic operation and removed the first 432 out of approximately 4,000 beagles at Envigo RMS LLC’s facility in Cumberland, Virginia, which bred dogs to be sold to laboratories for animal experimentation.

Homeward Trails, Priceless Pets, Helen Woodward Animal Center and Kindness Ranch Animal Sanctuary picked up groups of dogs removed from the facility yesterday. The Humane Society of the United States brought 201 beagles to its care and rehabilitation center where they will receive care and TLC until they are transported to MSPCA, Wisconsin Humane and Dakin Humane later in the week. RedRover Responders are assisting the HSUS with daily animal needs.

The removal of these dogs occurred pursuant to a transfer plan that was submitted by the Department of Justice and Envigo RMS LLC, with the agreement of the Humane Society of the United States to assume the responsibility of coordinating placement. The transfer plan comes as a result of a lawsuit filed against Envigo by the Department of Justice in May, 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.

“Despite the long day, the puppies perked up and immediately started bounding around their kennels and playing as soon as they settled in,” said Jessica Johnson, senior director of the Animal Rescue Team for the Humane Society of the United States. “For these resilient puppies, hopefully their ear tattoos are the only reminders of their past.”

“It takes a massive network of compassionate, expert shelters and rescue groups to make an operation of this scale possible,” said Lindsay Hamrick, shelter outreach and engagement director for the Humane Society of the United States. “We are deeply grateful to each organization that is stepping up to find these dogs the loving homes they so deserve.”

Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said: “This is a truly historic moment in animal protection, as 4,000 beagles are spared a life of animal testing. We are honored that the Department of Justice asked us to lead this massive operation. Our Animal Rescue Team is ready for this challenge because this is who we are—what we have trained for—we take on what otherwise seems impossible. We are grateful to our dedicated independent rescue and shelter partners, a network of organizations in communities throughout the country. These remarkable dogs now have wonderful homes and lives ahead of them, just as they deserve.”

People interested in adopting one of the beagles should view the HSUS’ list of partners that are accepting the beagles into their adoption program here.

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