Rescue groups begin work to rehome 4,000 beagles bred for research
The first group of the roughly 4,000 beagles in the custody of a research facility in Virginia have been brought to their new, temporary homes.
More than a dozen beagles arrived at the facility of the Homeward Trails Animal Rescue in Virginia on Thursday. It was the first of many deliveries as hundreds of rescue groups across the country are mobilizing in the coming weeks to rehome the beagles.
The Humane Society of the United States is spearheading the effort to transfer these dogs from their current home at the Envigo facility in Cumberland, Va., to shelters. The organization has just a few weeks to get this done.
Earlier this year the Envigo facility, which bred these beagles for pharmaceutical research and testing, was found to be in violation of several federal regulations. A federal judge ordered the dogs to be released within 60 days.
Animal rescue groups from Wyoming, Massachusetts, Virginia and elsewhere are working together to assist in this herculean effort.
"Finding partners who can make space and find homes for around 4,000 dogs in the summer — a time of year when animal shelters already are over-capacity — will be a feat of epic proportions," Kitty Block, president of The Humane Society of the United States, wrote on her blog.
Kindness Ranch, an animal rescue group from Wyoming, also trekked out to Virginia this week. The organization already has named the first of the more than 150 beagles they will be rescuing from Envigo: He's Uno.
It will take some time before these dogs will be up for adoption. The Envigo beagles must be evaluated by each of these rescue groups and vetted for any illnesses or behavioral issues before they get to their forever homes.
In the meantime, the dogs appear to be enjoying their freedom.
Homeward Trails shared videos of the first moments of the dogs arriving at their facility on social media. The dogs excitedly sniffed the ground, played with toys, and ran on grass for the first time.
And on their first full day of freedom the beagles were treated to a much-needed spa day, the organization posted.
"These cuties enjoyed a bubble bath and massage followed by an afternoon of frolicking in the yard, cuddle time in our Peace Out rooms, frozen kongs and cool nap time," Homeward Trails wrote. "Oh how it feels great to be FREE to be a DOG! For dogs that have spent their entire lives in a kennel, these cuties are truly embracing life and love."
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