Rehabilitation Begins for Former Research Beagles in Hopes of Finding Their Forever Homes

beagles for adoption

Homeward Trails Animal Rescue

The Humane Society, in partnership with several shelter and rescue organizations, removed more than four hundred beagles from Envigo RMS LLC's facility in Virginia on Thursday.

The dogs, which were bred in order to be used by laboratories for experimentation, are now out for adoption, but there are still thousands more beagles to account for.

The dogs are in for a lot of "care and TLC," the Humane Society of the United States said.

"Despite the long day, the puppies perked up and immediately started bounding around their kennels and playing as soon as they settled in," said Jessica Johnson, senior director of the Animal Rescue Team for the Humane Society of the United States in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.

"For these resilient puppies, hopefully their ear tattoos are the only reminders of their past."

RELATED: 4,000 Former Research Beagles Moving from Virginia Facility to Shelters to Find Forever Homes


Homeward Trails Animal Rescue

Homeward Trails, Priceless Pets, Helen Woodward Animal Center and Kindness Ranch Animal Sanctuary all took groups of dogs that were removed from Envigo, and even more will be transported to other centers across the country.

"It takes a massive network of compassionate, expert shelters and rescue groups to make an operation of this scale possible," said Lindsay Hamrick, shelter outreach and engagement director for the Humane Society of the United States.

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"We are deeply grateful to each organization that is stepping up to find these dogs the loving homes they so deserve." Those who wish to help with the adoption efforts can explore options on the Humane Society's website.

According to USA Today, the plan to move the beagles from the Virginia facility was created after the federal government filed a civil enforcement case in May against Envigo RMS — the company that owns and operates the facility for medical research. After the case was filed, U.S. District Court Judge Norman Moon issued a restraining order imposing restrictions on the facility, the outlet reported.

Envigo will provide a fee for each dog to help shelters prepare the pets for adoption, the outlet reported, citing court documents. If things go as they should, the dogs should start arriving in their new homes in August, after they are spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and treated for any health conditions.

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Since 2021, investigations into the Envigo breeding center have turned up reports of underfed, ill, and injured dogs, and dogs that were euthanized instead of given medical care, per The New York Times.

Additionally, 300 puppy deaths at the facility were attributed to "unknown causes" between January and July 2021, according to an inspection report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, USA Today reported.

Inotiv, Inc., Envigo's parent company, released a statement in June announcing it would close the Cumberland facility.

"Envigo has worked cooperatively with the Department of Justice to facilitate the orderly transfer of canines from our Cumberland, Virginia, facility to various adoption and sheltering agencies through a third-party organization. We anticipate that this orderly process will be completed within approximately 60 days. Our mission at Envigo is to help our customers realize the full potential of their scientific and medical research, which ultimately contributes to significant improvements in the lives of people and animals. The welfare of animals is, and has always been, our number one priority," an Inotiv company representative shared in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.

In March, Homeward Trails Animal Rescue in Fairfax, Virginia, took in over 400 beagles from the breeding facility in Cumberland after working out a plan with Envigo.

By agreeing to take on responsibility for these surplus Envigo canines, Homeward Trails Animal Rescue ensured that the over 400 beagles wouldn't face euthanasia.

"While certainly a monumental task, this is not something I had to think about for more than a second before agreeing. It is truly an honor to be able to give these dogs the lives they deserve," the rescue's executive director, Sue Bell, said in a statement.