The Humane Society of Marion County has some special guests who will soon be ready for forever homes.
The new guests are 15 beagle puppies from a pool of 4,000 beagles given to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) by Envigo RMS.LLC, operator of a breeding facility in Cumberland, Virginia. This delivery was made pursuant to a July consent decree following inspections by the US Department of Agriculture and a criminal search warrant executed by the US Department of Justice.
The Justice Department found no humane care was provided and cited violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act at the facility, including a lack of adequate housing, food, sanitation, and veterinary care for the dogs, which were bred for research purposes. according to a report. Department of Justice press release.
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Envigo “has agreed to a permanent ban on engaging in any activity at its facility in Cumberland, Virginia, that requires an Animal Welfare Act (AWA) license,” the DOJ press release states.
The HSUS contacted shelter partners across the country to disperse the beagles. In all, 76 rescue locations in 26 states, including the HSMC here, stepped up to help find homes for the dogs.
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HSMC Director Eddie Leedy recently drove his organization’s van to Cumberland, Virginia, to pick up the dogs.
Leedy said the beagles were identified at the kennel by letters tattooed on their ears, but all the dogs here now have names like Grommet, Mr. Peabody, Shiloh and Garfunkel.
The beagles in Ocala are 7 months old and weigh between 19 and 26 pounds.
HSMC lead vet tech Kim Bice said the dogs will be held for several days to check for any health issues.
Leedy said HSMC staff will also help socialize and build the dogs’ stamina and muscles.
HSMC volunteer Marcia Lape called the beagles cute.
Leedy said beagle adoptions will begin next month and will be on a first-come, first-served basis. She pointed out that there are still many other breeds of dogs and cats available ready for adoption at the no-kill shelter.
Beagles used for research purposes.
Kate MacFall, Florida HSUS Senior State Director, provided information on live animal testing.
“Sadly, about 60,000 dogs like these beagles are used in government-owned labs, private industry, universities and other institutions each year. At any one time, about 30,000 dogs are in kennels, like where these dogs come from.” , which supply these labs,” MacFall said in an email.
“Available non-animal methods are proving superior to animal testing in terms of predicting toxic effects in humans. These approaches are often faster and less expensive than animal testing, and are becoming increasingly sophisticated.” he wrote, in part.
An associate professor at Northeastern University stated in a July article available on news.northeastern.edu that “beagles are preferred (for animal testing) because they are small and docile” and because there is “historical data on that species” to compare.
A PETA ‘Eyewitness Investigation’
The rescue of the beagles from the Envigo facility was a joint effort of animal rights groups and government agencies.
Daniel Paden, vice president of evidence analysis at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), stated in a related email and phone interview that a PETA “eyewitness investigation” inside the Envigo hatchery helped reveal the plight of beagles.
“(E)workers deliberately starved lactating mothers, workers without veterinary credentials cut puppies from the abdomens of sedated dogs before euthanizing the mothers, and more. Over the course of the investigation, our witness found more than 360 dead pups among their littermates and live mothers,” he wrote.
“In October 2021, PETA filed a complaint with the US Department of Agriculture, prompting the agency to conduct multi-day inspections of the facility that month and in November 2021. They found that dogs with festering leg sores and other painful conditions were denied veterinary care. watch out, the puppies died after falling into a drain, and more,” Paden said.
Paden stated that 48 of the 74 citations for violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) over a 10-month period “came from inspections prompted by the evidence and complaint of PETA’s investigation, and it was those citations in which the The US Department of Justice based its historic complaint on getting the dogs released.”
PETA took in 25 of the rescued dogs for adoption. Paden said she had the opportunity to interact with the rescued beagles, describing them as somewhat shy at first but soon “eager to please.”
A voicemail message left with Envigo was not immediately returned.
Meanwhile, Leedy is ready for the expected rush of people who want to adopt one of the beagles. She will post an announcement on the organization’s website, thehsmc.org, in early September when adoptions become available, she said.