UPDATE! 432 Beagles Of The Nearly 4,000 Rescued From The Horrific Envigo Animal Testing Facility Experience Their First Taste Of Freedom

Photos by Kevin Wolf/AP Images for HSUS

Update: July 22, 2022

Yesterday, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and several shelter and rescue partners embarked on a historic operation and removed the first 432 out of approximately 4,000 beagles from the Envigo animal testing 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 rescued the first group of dogs yesterday. The Humane Society of the United States brought 201 beagles to its rehabilitation center where they will receive loving care 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.

As previously reported by WAN, the transfer plan is a result of a lawsuit filed against Envigo by the Department of Justice in May, alleging there were Animal Welfare Act violations at the facility. Government inspectors found that beagles were being killed instead of receiving veterinary care 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. Dogs also 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.”

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Envigo, the deplorable dog breeding and testing facility in Virginia, has been exposed for egregious animal welfare violations and is responsible for the suffering of thousands of innocent beagles.

As per a statement released by Virginia Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, on July 1st, the Department of Justice and Envigo announced a plan to facilitate the surrender of nearly four thousand dogs from the controversial facility.

Under the agreement, ownership and physical custody of the dogs will be transferred to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which will work to place these dogs into homes.

While the court previously allowed Envigo to fulfill the existing contracts for an estimated 500 dogs, it subsequently ruled against the company’s request to fill contracts for a sister company, ENVIGO Global Services.

“In case you missed it, it looks like 4,000 dogs that were being horribly mistreated at an Envigo facility in Cumberland will soon be free and become pets,” Senator Warner shared in a post on his Facebook page over the weekend. “I’m so thrilled they will soon have their own Independence Day!”

This transfer is the result of a warrant and subsequent lawsuit filed by federal authorities after Senators Warner and Kaine shed light on the issue and demanded federal action. After a preliminary injunction against the facility was issued in the Western District of Virginia, Envigo and its parent company agreed to close the facility permanently.

“After months of advocacy, we are heartened to know that nearly 4,000 Envigo dogs will be spared a lifetime of suffering and will instead head to loving homes. We are also pleased to know that Inotiv, Envigo’s parent company, will shutter its Cumberland facility and that no more dogs will be subject to the appalling conditions and inexcusable distress endured by so many dogs and puppies at the facility. We will continue working in the Senate to prevent the mistreatment of innocent animals across Virginia and the nation,” the Senators said in a joint statement. 

In March, Senators Warner and Kaine expressed horror and demanded immediate and aggressive action by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) following more than 70 animal welfare violations at the Envigo breeding and research facility in Cumberland. After these calls for action, the federal government stepped in, seizing 446 beagles in acute distress and placing a temporary restraining order to prevent the breeding, sale, or otherwise dealing of beagles at the Cumberland facility.

Senators Warner and Kaine have been consistent cosponsors of the Puppy Protection Act, which would amend the Animal Welfare Act to include additional care and safety standards for dog breeders like Envigo. Under the bill, breeders would be required to house dogs in appropriately sized enclosures with solid ground and keep them on a regular diet and exercise routine. As Governor of Virginia, Kaine signed a law that imposed stricter legal penalties for dogfighting offenses.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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