Authorities are trying to find homes for 4,000 beagles rescued from Virginia facility

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A judge earlier this month approved a plan to move 4,000 beagles out of a Virginia breeding and research facility that has been cited for animal welfare violations.

The nonprofit Humane Society of the United States will remove the beagles over a 60-day period and subsequently transfer them to animal shelters and rescue organizations, according to the approved plan.

Envigo, a contract research organization that operates the Cumberland, Va., facility, will pay fees for each of the beagles sent to the shelters taking them in, according to the plan. The Humane Society will cover the transportation costs at its own expense.

Inotiv, which acquired Envigo last November after some of those violations, said in a release last month that it was closing the Cumberland location.

“The required investments to improve the facility and the lead time to achieve these improvements have recently increased,” Inotiv President Robert Leasure Jr. said in the release. “As a result, we have decided we will not be investing further in this facility, and it will be closed. We will implement an orderly closure plan.”

Court documents show Envigo had already relinquished 446 beagles to federal agents as of early June after Department of Agriculture inspections over the course of nine months revealed 73 violations of the Animal Welfare Act at the facility.

More than 300 puppies died of unknown causes at the facility between January and July of last year, according to the inspection records.

The violations also included allegations that the facility kept dogs in temperatures exceeding 85 degrees Fahrenheit for extended periods of time, housing violations that injured dozens of dogs and euthanasia without a sedative.

The issues gained the attention of Virginia Sens. Mark Warner (D) and Tim Kaine (D), who had demanded action from federal inspectors.

“After months of advocacy, we’re heartened to know that nearly 4,000 Envigo dogs will be spared a lifetime of suffering and will instead head to loving homes,” Warner and Kaine said in a joint statement.

“We’re 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,” the duo said. “We will continue working in the Senate to prevent the mistreatment of innocent animals across Virginia and the nation.”

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