You may have heard of the “Envigo beagles,” the 4,000 dogs who were bred for research testing in an inhumane facility until a judge ordered for their release this summer.
These dogs have been getting the second chance they deserve, arriving at rescues and humane societies across the country, getting proper care and finding their forever homes.
But one of these beagles is truly getting the royal treatment after getting adopted by two world-famous members of the English royal family: Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Adopted by Harry & Meghan
The news was reported Wednesday by the Los Angeles Times. Shannon Keith, an animal rights attorney who runs the Beagle Freedom Project, said she got a call from a “VIP donor” interested in adopting one of the beagles.
She was shocked when she realized it was Meghan Markle. “The duchess called me personally,” Shannon told the LA Times. “She calls on my cell with no Caller ID and says, ‘Hey Shannon, this is Meghan.'”
The couple — who relocated to an estate in Montecito, California in 2020 after stepping away from royal duties — later visited the rescue organization after hours, with only two security guards with them.
They met the beagles, and insisted on adopting one of the older dogs instead of a puppy. “We want ones we can help who are older,” the Duchess was quoted as saying.
They decided on a 7-year-old named Mamma Mia, who had previously been used as a breeding dog by Envigo before her rescue.
Mia’s puppies are also available for adoption, but the couple wanted to adopt the mom instead, believing she had less of a chance of finding a home.
The royal couple has not yet commented on the adoption, and no photographers were present, but a publicist confirmed to the LA Times that they had visited the rescue.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are no strangers to dogs. They also own a black Labrador named Pula, a rescue dog adopted by Meghan after the couple got married, and Guy, also a beagle, who was adopted from a shelter.
Harry and Meghan live on a 7-acre property, so needless to say Mamma Mia will have plenty of room to run around and play — a far cry from the cramped conditions she was forced to live in in her previous life.
4,000 dogs saved from Envigo
Last year PETA investigated the breeding facility operated by Envigo, a contract research company, in Cumberland, Virginia. They found that 5,000 beagles were being kept in inhumane “prison-like” conditions, and reported deaths of 350 puppies.
“The dogs had no beds, no toys, no stimulation—no real lives,” PETA wrote. “For more than 50 years, various companies have bred them at this dog factory farm to sell to laboratories for experimentation.”
The facility then came under fire by local lawmakers and animal rights groups, who fought for it to be shut down. Envigo then submitted bids for permission to fulfill a sister company’s contract order by selling 2,200 dogs into 2023, but these were rejected by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Norman K. Moon.
Envigo, the Humane Society and the U.S. government then presented a joint plan to move the remaining 4,000 beagles in the facility to shelters for adoption. A federal judge in Lynchburg, Virginia signed off on the proposal in July, allowing the dogs to finally be moved to shelters.
“Those dogs have never put their paws on grass. Many of them have never seen the sun. They’ve never had a toy. They’ve never had a bed. They haven’t had a family,” said PETA vice president Dan Paden.
Over the past few weeks, the 4,000 beagles have been relocated to rescues around the country, getting the care they need and put up for adoption.
It’s a life-changing second chance for all of these dogs, who no longer have to live in misery — but Mamma Mia definitely lucked out most of all, and will get to spend the rest of her life getting the royal treatment.
Thank you to Harry and Meghan for adopting one of these beautiful dogs. What a happy ending for Mamma Mia, from being a breeding dog for medical testing to being part of the royal family!
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