All dogs deserve a loving home and a happy life, but sadly that’s not always the case. At one facility, thousands of beagles were bred for medical testing, and kept in inhumane conditions.
But last month, the dogs’ lives changed in an instant when a judge ordered for them to be relocated to shelters, finally freeing them from cruelty and giving them a chance at happiness.
In the weeks since, these dogs have gotten their first taste of freedom — and some have already found their forever homes.
‘Prison-like’ breeding facility
Last year PETA investigated a breeding facility operated by the contract research company Envigo 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 were bred for lab testing. “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.”
Following backlash and a rejected bid to sell 2,200 dogs into 2023, last month Envigo, the Humane Society and the U.S. government presented a joint plan to move the remaining 4,000 beagles in the facility to shelters for adoption.
New freedom at shelters
In the weeks since the order, the thousands of beagles have been relocated to new homes in shelters across the country.
According to NPR, the Humane Society of the United States spearheaded the effort, relocating the dogs to hundreds of rescue groups across the US.
One of these groups is Homeward Trails, a rescue group based in Virginia. They treated their beagles to the best of care, showing them love they had never known before.
“These cuties enjoyed a bubble bath and massage followed by an afternoon of frolicking in the yard, cuddle time in our Peace Out rooms, frozen kongs and cool nap time,” they wrote on Facebook.
“Oh how it feels great to be FREE to be a DOG! For dogs that have spent their entire lives in a kennel, these cuties are truly embracing life and love.”
For many of the dogs, it will take some time before they’re ready to be adopted, as they need to receive medical care.
But some of these dogs are already finding their forever homes.
The first Envigo beagle adopted out was a dog named Nellie. According to the New York Times, she’s a 2-year-and-8-month-old dog who got her name because she’s a “nervous Nellie,” understandably timid around people.
But within 24 hours, she was adopted by Lauren and Trevor Kellogg, from Washington, DC, who did advocacy work against animal testing. Now, Nellie is settling in in her new home.
“She’s already starting to adjust to her new life, slowly but surely,” Lauren told Good Day DC.
Nellie isn’t the only beagle who has been adopted out of the Virginia shelter. According to 7News, the Leduc family of Alexandria, Virginia adopted a 5-year-old beagle named Hazel.
Like Nellie, it’s has taken some time for Hazel to adjust to her new freedom.
“It’s only been about 72 hours since we’ve had her and most of the time she’s walking around looking for her little crate and we think it’s because she likes and is used to small spaces,” Dave Leduc told 7News.
They also said that Hazel had lost many of her teeth, likely from chewing at the bars in her crate out of boredom.
“I think it’s baby steps she’s going to keep doing these little things and getting to be more and more ok with being there,” 18-year-old Elena Leduc told 7News. “She’s very calm very sweet. You can definitely tell though if you’re quick or louder you might scare her. You can definitely tell her past has been rough but she’s a really sweet dog.”
Nellie and Hazel are just two of the thousands of dogs that have been rescued from Envigo, and it will take time for them to find homes. According to NPR, the beagles were relocated at a time of year when many shelters are already at capacity, adding an extra challenge to these rescues.
But hopefully, these beagles will be able to find homes with families willing to give them the time and care they need to adjust to their new reality.
“Of course there are challenges, but I would say the good outweighs the bad,” Lauren told Good Day DC. “You’re giving these dogs such an opportunity for a new life.”
She added that despite the challenges, “they adjust really quickly and are so loving.”
We’re so glad these beagles have been saved from inhumane conditions and are now on their way to finding homes!
Share this good news if you love dogs!