Virginia dog rescue: 4,000 beagles up for adoption after being rescued from abuse at Envigo breeding facility

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CUMBERLAND, Va. – The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) will transfer 4,000 beagles from a research center in Cumberland, Va., to humane societies across the United States where they can be adopted, as part of a plan approved by a federal judge last week.

A series of inspections over the course of nine months revealed more than 70 animal welfare violations at the Envigo breeding facility. Mortality records reviewed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) showed more than 300 puppy deaths from January 1, 2001 through July 22, 2021, attributed to unknown causes. The facility also took no further steps to determine the cause to prevent similar deaths in the future.

A petition filed in June said federal agents had already seized 446 beagles. HSUS will transport the remaining beagles from the facility at its own expense over the next approximately 60 day period.

Following last week’s decision, Inotiv, Inc., Envigo’s parent company, said in a statement that it will “implement a plan for the orderly closure” of the Cumberland facility.

Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine said in a statement, “After months of advocacy, we are thrilled to know that nearly 4,000 Envigo dogs will be spared a lifetime of suffering and will instead be heading to loving homes. We are also pleased to know that Inotiv – the parent company of Envigo – will be closing its Cumberland facility and no more dogs will be subjected to the appalling conditions and inexcusable distress endured by so many dogs and puppies at the facility. We will continue to work in the Senate to prevent the mistreatment of innocent animals across Virginia and the country.”

Sue Bell, executive director and founder of Homeward Trails Animal Rescue, told CNN her group took in 36 dogs between the ages of one and six from among 446 beagles abandoned earlier this year. Bell said the dogs were adopted in just three weeks.

She is also part of a team working on the logistics of the additional 4,000 beagles that will be handed over over the next few weeks, she said.

“We hope to remove approximately 200 to 250 beagles from the property on July 19,” Bell said.

The group will prioritize getting pregnant dogs, juvenile dogs and mother dogs with unweaned puppies from the facility first. “We prefer that pregnant dogs not give birth at this facility. We hope to bring them home first,” Bell said. After that, there will still be thousands of adult beagles that will need to be removed from the property.

Animal rights organization PETA applauded last week’s decision allowing the dogs to be released from the facility.

“Surviving victims of Envigo will soon have the opportunity to have what every dog ​​deserves: the freedom to enjoy life, love and respect for their individuality as members of a family home,” said said Daphna Nachminovitch, senior vice president of PETA Cruelty Investigations. “PETA’s groundbreaking undercover investigation helped trigger a historic domino effect of state and federal legislative and enforcement action that paved the way for these dogs to become independent and shut down. of this prison for dogs.”

Anyone looking for information on how to adopt one of the beagles or how to help rescue the beagle can go to the USHS website at humanesociety.org.

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