Envigo dogs are ready for adoption

Published 4:00 pm Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Now that the adoption plan is approved, the 4,000 Envigo beagles are preparing to find their forever homes.

In May 2022, Envigo, an Indiana-based company with a facility located in Cumberland County that bred and sold animals for scientific research, was cited for 74 violations of the Animal Welfare Act by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) causing the facilities operations to be suspended.

Senior U.S. District Court Judge Norman K. Moon filed a consent decree July 15 that permanently barred Envigo from any activity requiring a federal Animal Welfare Act license despite giving an oral order July 5 approving the adoption plan for the nearly 4,000 beagles.

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Last week, the Humane Society of the United States started the process of removing the 4,000 beagles from the Envigo facility. A portion of those dogs went to Homeward Trails Animal Rescue in Arlington. The Humane Society of the United States will continue to work in the coming weeks to send these dogs to partnering shelters across the country.

According to Sue Bell, executive director at Homeward Trails Animal Rescue, these dogs will take some extra love and patience as they adjust to life outside of the lab.

“Most of the dogs in shelters, even if it wasn’t a fantastic experience, have experience in the real world,” said Bell. “[The Envigo dogs] are unique because they’ve spent their whole life in a group in a kennel that they never left. A lot of things are new to them and it will take longer for them to adjust, but they do adjust.”

After spending their life in a kennel, simple things such as grass, stairs and human contact are very new for these dogs. According to Bell, the shelter has received great feedback from those who are fostering or have adopted the Envigo beagles and the dogs adjust at their own speeds but do great.

Different shelters require different conditions for adopting one of the Envigo dogs. Homeward Trails Animal Rescue requirements include making sure the new home already has a dog as these beagles have never been alone before. Additionally, they require the adopting individuals to live in a home or townhome that has a secure yard as the dogs are not used to being on leashes.

In the coming weeks, more shelters will receive these beagles. According to a Facebook post, Richmond Animal Care and Control is already preparing to take in some of the Envigo dogs. For those who would like to help but may not meet the criteria for an Envigo dog, many shelters are already near full and need people to adopt the animals already there to make room for these new beagles.

As more shelters receive these dogs, folks can visit humanesociety.org/4000beagles as it will be regularly updated as the dogs get settled into various animal shelters across the country.

Even though the rescue of the Envigo dogs is a big feat, it’s not the end of the fight. Homeward Trails Animal Rescue is partnering with White Coat Waste Project, which conducts investigations on taxpayer-funded research on animals. They plan to collaborate to create free informative videos on their Facebook page to help people understand what is happening and how to contact their legislatures to stop it.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which conducted its own investigation of Envigo along with the USDA, also plan to continue to fight against animal testing labs by calling on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to phase out all animal experimentation.

“This isn’t only a feel-good story about rescued dogs — the beagles from Envigo represent the countless victims of the cruelty and pointlessness of all experiments on animals,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “Every animal supplier and laboratory needs to be shut down, and NIH can start by dumping failed animal tests and funding scientifically superior, human-relevant studies.”