Last batch of beagles removed from troubled breeding facility

CUMBERLAND, Va. (AP) — The Humane Society of the United States said it removed the latest group of beagles from a struggling breeding facility in Virginia that had planned to sell the dogs to animal testing labs.

The organization said it removed the remaining 312 dogs from the Cumberland facility on Thursday. Nearly 4,000 beagles were removed in total. They are transported to shelters and other rescue sites across the country, which find homes for the dogs.

“Many people don’t realize that an average of 60,000 dogs like these are still used in labs every year,” Humane Society President and CEO Kitty Block said in a statement. “While we celebrate those lucky dogs who go to loving homes, we are focused on creating a future where no dog faces that kind of fate.”

Block said those dogs were spared because that particular breeding facility was cited for violating animal welfare law. Earlier this year, federal officials filed a civil suit against Envigo RMS, which owns and operates the facility. Hundreds of dogs found themselves in “acute distress”.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the Norfolk-based animal rights group, had investigated the facility and said the dogs were living in overcrowded and stressful conditions.

PETA said in a statement earlier this year that federal veterinarians found dogs who had been denied treatment for “serious dental disease” as well as dogs with sores and yellow discharge around their eyes. Dogs were also denied food for days while nursing puppies, among other violations, PETA said.

In early July, a federal judge approved a plan to remove the beagles and put them up for adoption.

United States District Court Judge Norman Moon also issued a restraining order imposing a series of restrictions on the facility. In June, company officials announced plans to shut it down.

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