Beagle rescued from breeding facility finds home in Savannah

Aug. 21—After thousands of beagles were rescued from reportedly dangerous living conditions at a breeding facility in Virginia, one of the first pups of the bunch found a family in Savannah, Missouri.

Envigo is a research company with a facility in Virginia where approximately 4,000 beagles were rescued after the U.S. Agriculture Department reportedly found them in horrible condition earlier this year. The beagles were being bred and kept for product testing, although the company was found to be performing unnecessarily harmful and fatal procedures.

Efforts to care for and find homes for the beagles came from all across the country. Bob and Eadie Anderson of Savannah first learned about the Envigo beagle crisis in May when they got a notice for a deployment to Maryland from the Humane Society of the United States to help care for an "influx of dogs."

Bob and Eadie were in Maryland for a week, where about 400 beagles and a hundred other dogs were being kept in a temporary shelter. For those roughly 500 animals, there were about 25 volunteers.

Eadie had been volunteering with the Humane Society for less than a year and had never been on location to serve animals before. She was going to go on her own, but her husband, Bob, insisted he go with her — and it was he who fell in love with Daphne first.

"It was like right away," Bob said. "I went in to feed her the first day and she just clung to me."

Daphne, who the Andersons believe to be about a year old, was just one of the thousands of beagles born in the Envigo breeding facility. From the moment they met, every other volunteer knew that Daphne was Bob's to care for.

"How do you say no to that face?" Bob said. "She attached to me, and my mindset was, I'm here to take care of animals, and you know, no idea I was going to get attached to one. But she just looked at me and clung to me and she just won me over."

Each day the operation went on, more and more beagles were being marked with pink tags, signifying they were being picked up and taken to a different facility with the goal of being adopted into their forever home. On the last day Bob and Eadie went to work, Daphne had a pink tag.

After asking around the facility that Saturday, Bob found that Daphne was being transferred to a facility in Salem, Massachusetts. The Andersons stayed in constant communication with the shelter, and once the legal hold was removed from the beagles, the shelter asked when they could pick Daphne up.

It wasn't that simple, though. Daphne had just been spayed and could not fly, so the Andersons were figuring out how to coordinate taking off work and driving to Massachusetts to pick her up. What they didn't expect was the outpouring of support they would receive from the friends they made through the Humane Society.

"They actually arranged through volunteers to get her from Massachusetts to Kansas City," Bob said. "There were two ladies. One picked her up in Salem and drove her to Ohio, and another lady who lives down by Jefferson City, she met in Ohio and drove her down to Jefferson City, and we drove down to pick her up."

The Andersons got the dog on June 17. Daphne is adjusting to living in a loving home. With two other dogs in the house, she is socializing and learning how to enjoy things as a puppy.

The Andersons urge others to take the time to educate themselves about the products they use to lessen the number of animals abused through testing facilities.