Sep. 1—PITTSBURG, Kan. — The first of eight beagles rescued from a mass breeding laboratory in Virginia in July is now up for adoption at the Southeast Kansas Humane Society shelter.
Nellie, the oldest of the eight beagles at 7 years old, has passed her medical rounds "with astounding progress" and was listed as ready for adoption on Thursday, according to a shelter statement.
Officials with the no-kill animal shelter, located at 485 E. 560th St., said Nellie "did fantastic" at a socialization event held earlier in the month, meaning the dog showed no ill effects from her mistreatment inside the breeding facility.
The Southeast Kansas Humane Society was one of many shelters nationwide that received some of the first malnourished beagles, of which there were nearly 4,000 in total. SEK is a partner shelter with the Humane Society of the United States, which spearheaded the beagle rescue from the Envigo RMS LLC facility in Cumberland, Virginia, which was breeding Nellie and the other dogs to be sold to companies for animal experimentation.
The removal of the beagles came as the result of a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice in May, which outlined "serious and ongoing violations of the Animal Welfare Act," according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court, Western District of Virginia.
The beagles were routinely being killed rather than receiving veterinary treatment for minor injuries or illnesses, according to the complaint. Nursing mothers were denied food, and the food the dogs were given contained maggots, mold and feces. Over an eight-week period, 25 beagle puppies died of cold exposure, and some suffered from injuries when they were attacked by other dogs in overcrowded conditions, the complaint stated.
Officials with the national organization announced Thursday they had removed the last group of 312 beagles from the facility. Over the past month, beagles have been safely shipped to more than 100 shelters and rescues across the country.
Due to the high volume of interested adopters, SEK officials say those interested in adopting Nellie must fill out an application form online at thesekhumanesociety.com. On the shelter website, adopters are encouraged to find Nellie's picture listed under the "adoptable animal" tab at the top of the page. After clicking her picture, which leads to her biography page, they can click the gray-colored "apply for adoption" button on the right-hand side of the screen.
Jasmine Kyle, shelter director, told the Globe in July that interest from the public in adopting the beagles had been "unprecedented," with hundreds of calls coming in from families and individuals from as far away as Colorado, New York and Tennessee.
She said they will choose where the beagles go based on a first-come, first-served basis. "We just want to make it as fair as possible for everybody," she said.
"We thank everyone for their support as we have worked with these dogs," Pittsburg shelter officials said in their Thursday statement. "They now no longer have to fear being overbred or sold off for testing."
Three other adult dogs accompanied Nellie on their journey to Kansas from the East Coast: 4-year-old Robert, 3-year-old Daisy and 1-year-old Copper. Daisy had a litter of four puppies: Lavender, Rose, Marigold and Tulip.
Daisy and her pups are "doing fantastic," shelter officials noted. The adult boys, Robert and Copper, "are doing great and are on track to be available (for adoption) in the next few weeks."