Last of Cumberland beagles heading to their new homes

Published 2:46 pm Friday, September 2, 2022

CUMBERLAND COUNTY – After spending their lives in Envigo’s testing facility, the last of the Cumberland beagles are heading to their new homes across the country.

On Sept. 2, the Humane Society of the United States removed the last 50 beagles of the nearly 4,000 rescued from the Envigo facility in Cumberland County. 

“This is certainly the largest operation that the Humane Society has been involved in,” said Lindsay Hamrick, director of shelter outreach and engagement for the Humane Society of the United States. “We have partnered with over 400 shelters. There’s been an overwhelming response of support and it’s awesome to see the public so committed to seeing a new story for these dogs.” 

How did we get here? 

Envigo is an Indiana-based company with a facility located in Cumberland County that bred and sold animals for scientific research. In May 2022, the group was cited for 74 violations of the Animal Welfare Act by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), causing the facility’s 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. He ruled for Envigo to shut down and for the dogs at the Cumberland facility to be put up for adoption. 

After the ruling, the Humane Society of the United States worked alongside its partners to rehome the thousands of dogs that used to call the facility home in under 60 days. On scheduled days, the Humane Society and its partners would go in and retrieve 300 to 600 beagles at a time to go to an adoption facility or go back with them to Maryland. Because of their efforts, the dogs have been relocated to 120 different shelters in 29 different states. 

Cumberland beagles

A beagle puppy from the first group of 201 beagles removed from Envigo RMS LLC facility in Cumberland, plays at the care and rehabilitation center in Maryland on July 22.

News of the beagles travels

Luckily for the shelters, the story of what these dogs have been through has spread across the country. According to Hamrick, distributing this many dogs to shelters can be challenging in order to not overwhelm the shelters as many are already facing capacity issues. Fortunately, many people are ready to give these dogs a new home. 

“There have been quite a few high-profile adopters,” said Hamrick, referring to Prince Harry and Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who adopted one of the rescued beagles. “Hopefully this will help bring more awareness to the use of animals in testing facilities.” 

On Saturday, Aug. 20, the Humane Society partnered with Greater Good Charities Good Flights Program and iHeartDogs.com to airlift 146 beagles from Maryland to Portland, Oregon. They had a second airlift to fly over 100 beagles from Maryland to San Diego, California. Another airlift is planned to take another 100 to 150 beagles to Portland, Maine. 

After tireless work from nonprofits, government organizations and political advocates, thousands of beagles have found the happy ending that they deserve.