Judge OKs plan to put about 4,000 beagles from Virginia breeder mill up for adoption

A federal judge in Lynchburg, Virginia, has signed off on a plan for the Humane Society to transfer about 4,000 beagles from the Envigo breeder mill in Cumberland County, Virginia, to shelters so they can be placed for adoption.

Envigo raised the dogs for medical research and came under fire from animal rights advocates for the company’s treatment of the beagles.

Envigo, the Humane Society and the U.S. government presented the joint plan after U.S. District Judge Norman Moon refused Envigo’s bids for permission to sell more than 2,000 beagles to fulfill a sister company’s research contracts.

Envigo will pay the Humane Society a $100 fee per beagle and $150 per nursing mother and litter under 8 weeks. The Humane Society will transmit the fees to shelters in order to defray the costs of preparing the beagles for adoption.

“Virginia is for dog lovers today,” said Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Franklin County, who sponsored legislation to protect dogs and cats at research facilities, along with Sen. Jennifer Boysko, D-Fairfax and Del. Rob Bell, R-Albemarle.

Stanley said “it’s a victory for the dogs and a victory for stopping needless experiments” on the animals.

Inotiv, Envigo’s Indiana-based parent company, recently announced its plans to close Envigo’s beagle mill, which Moon has castigated for its “torturous abuse” of dogs and puppies in repeated violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

Under the agreement, the Humane Society will be solely responsible for coordinating transfer of the beagles from the Cumberland site and for the beagles’ placement with animal shelters and rescue organizations for adoption. The Humane Society agreed that it will place as many beagles as possible with shelters on the East Coast and in the Midwest and that beagles under 8 weeks will be transported with their mothers.

Stanley said the goal now is “finding good, permanent, loving homes for all of these dogs.”

He encouraged anyone who wants to get on a list to adopt a beagle from Envigo to call his office at (540) 721-6028.

<p>Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Franklin County, Va., shown holding a beagle, sponsored legislation to protect dogs and cats at research facilities. </p>


Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Franklin County, Va., shown holding a beagle, sponsored legislation to protect dogs and cats at research facilities. 

Stanley previously played a key role in helping hundreds of beagles rescued from Envigo find homes. His family adopted two of those beagles and he says anyone who adopts a dog or puppy saved from Envigo will find it was “the best decision they ever made.”

The senator said he is concerned that many shelters already are overburdened and added that advocates seeking to help the beagles will “have to be very creative here.”

Last year, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals conducted an undercover investigation at the Envigo’s Cumberland County facility. PETA posted disturbing video of beagles housed in what it called a “prison like factory.”

Daphna Nachminovitch, PETA’s senior vice president of cruelty investigations, said in a statement: “PETA’s groundbreaking undercover investigation helped spark a historic domino effect of state and federal legislative and law-enforcement action that paved the way for these dogs’ independence and this dog prison’s closure.

“Envigo’s surviving victims will soon be given the opportunity to have what every dog deserves — the freedom to enjoy life, love, and respect for their individuality as members of a family home.”

Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, Virginia Democrats, said in a joint statement: “After months of advocacy, we’re heartened to know that nearly 4,000 Envigo dogs will be spared a lifetime of suffering and will instead head to loving homes.

“We’re also pleased to know that Inotiv — Envigo’s parent company — will shutter its Cumberland facility and that no more dogs will be subject to the appalling conditions and inexcusable distress endured by so many dogs and puppies at the facility.”