Beagles rescued in Virginia will have new homes in Ocala, Florida
The Humane Society of Marion County has special guests who will soon be ready for forever homes.
The new guests are 15 beagle puppies from a group of 4,000 beagles donated to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) by Envigo RMS.LLC, operator of a livestock facility in Cumberland, Virginia. This surrender followed a July consent decree following inspections by the US Department of Agriculture and a criminal search warrant executed by the US Department of Justice.
The DOJ found there had been a failure to provide humane care and cited violations of federal animal welfare law at the facility, including lack of housing, food, proper sanitation and veterinary care for the dogs, which were bred for research purposes, according to a DOJ press release.
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Envigo “has agreed to a permanent ban on engaging in any activity at its Cumberland, Va. facility that requires an Animal Welfare Act (AWA) license,” the DOJ press release reads.
HSUS contacted partner shelters nationwide to disperse beagles. A total of 76 rescue sites in 26 states, including HSMC here, have stepped up to help find homes for the dogs.
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HSMC Director Eddie Leedy recently drove his organization’s van to Cumberland, Virginia to pick up the dogs.
Leedy said the beagles were identified at the breeding facility by letters tattooed on their ears, but all the dogs here now have names like Grommet, Mr. Peabody, Shiloh and Garfunkel.
Ocala beagles are all 7 months old and weigh 19 to 26 pounds.
HSMC Chief Veterinary Technician Kim Bice said the dogs would still be detained for several days to check for any health issues.
Leedy said HSMC staff will also help socialize and build dogs’ stamina and muscle.
HSMC volunteer Marcia Lape called beagles cute.
Leedy said beagle adoptions will begin next month and will be first come, first served. He noted that there were still many other breeds of dogs and cats ready to be adopted into the shelter without killing.
Beagles used for research purposes
Kate MacFall, Senior Director of HSUS Florida, provided information on live animal testing.
“Unfortunately, approximately 60,000 dogs like these beagles are used each year in laboratories owned by government, private industry, universities and other institutions. that supply these labs,” MacFall said in an email.
“Available non-animal methods are found to be superior to animal testing in predicting toxic effects in humans. These approaches are often faster and less expensive than animal testing, and they are increasingly becoming sophisticated,” she wrote in part.
An associate professor at Northeastern University said in a July article available at news.northeastern.edu that “beagles are preferred (for animal testing) because they are small and docile” and because there are a “data history for this species” for comparison purposes.
A PETA “eyewitness investigation”
The rescue of the beagles from the Envigo facility was a joint effort of animal rights groups and government agencies.
Daniel Paden, vice president of evidence analysis for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), said in an email and related phone interview that an “eyewitness investigation” by PETA at the inside the Envigo breeding facility revealed the fate of the beagles.
“Workers deliberately starved nursing mothers without food, workers without a veterinary degree cut puppies from the abdomens of sedated dogs before euthanizing the mothers, and more. During the investigation, our witness discovered over 360 dead puppies among their living littermates and mothers,” he wrote.
“In October 2021, PETA filed a complaint with the United States Department of Agriculture, prompting the agency to conduct multi-day inspections of the facility that month and November 2021. They found that dogs with weeping sores on paws and other painful conditions were being denied veterinary care, puppies died after falling into a sewer, and more,” Paden said.
Paden said 48 of 74 citations for violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) over a 10-month period “came during inspections prompted by investigative evidence and PETA’s complaint — and it is these quotes on which the United States Department of Justice based its landmark complaint in securing the freedom of dogs.”
PETA has taken in 25 of the rescued dogs for adoption. Paden said he had a chance to interact with the rescued beagles and described them as somewhat shy at first but soon “eager to please”.
A voicemail left with Envigo was not immediately returned.
Meanwhile, Leedy is ready for the expected onslaught of people wanting to adopt one of the beagles. An announcement will be posted on the organization’s website, thehsmc.orgearly September, when adoptions become available, he said.