Hundreds of beagles in the D.C. area are in need of new homes after being removed from an animal breeding facility in Virginia, The Humane Society of the United States said in a release. The Humane Society began working to remove and transport the first group of 400 beagles on Thursday.
The 4,000 beagles were removed from the company Envigo's facility in Cumberland, Virginia, where they were being bred and sold to laboratories that conduct animal experimentation. 200 of the beagles were moved to an Humane Society care and rehabilitation center in an undisclosed location in Maryland. Another 200, were moved to other animal care sanctuaries and non-profits like Homeward Trails Animal Rescue, the release said.
“These dogs have lived their lives in a massive breeding facility riddled with Animal Welfare Act violations,” said Miguel Abi-hassan, chief animal rescue officer for the Humane Society said. “We are so grateful for the opportunity to work with our shelter and rescue partners to give these beagles a new life.”
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In May, the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit alleging the facility had violated the Animal Welfare Act. After federal inspections were conducted, the Justice Department found dogs has been euthanized without anesthesia, did not receive adequate veterinary care, were malnourished and lived in unclean conditions, a press release said.
The animal rescue facility Homeward Trails, agreed to care for 500 of the beagles and put them up for adoption. Their adoption process will start in the next few weeks, Homeward Trails said in a release.
“For months now, we have witnessed first-hand the joy these dogs experience when their feet touch grass for the first time, they get a bone to chew on, and they experience love from a human being," Sue Bell, executive director of Homeward Trails said in a release.
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On Saturday, the beagles in Homeward Trails care had a "spa day" where they were cleaned by volunteers and staff, WTOP reported.
The dogs at the recovery center in Maryland "will receive care and TLC" until later in the week when they are transported to other care facilities.
Besides Virginia, the 4,000 beagles will be moved to shelters across the country including in Michigan, California, Wyoming, Massachusetts and Wisconsin. The Humane Society is now looking people to donate, adopt or foster the dogs at these shelters.
“It takes a massive network of compassionate, expert shelters and rescue groups to make an operation of this scale possible,” Lindsay Hamrick, shelter outreach and engagement director for the Humane Society said. “We are deeply grateful to each organization that is stepping up to find these dogs the loving homes they so deserve.”