Southern California

Hundreds of Beagles Are Headed to SoCal Shelters After Rescue From Virginia Breeding Facility

"For these resilient puppies, hopefully their ear tattoos are the only reminders of their past."

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If you're looking to adopt a four-legged friend, now might just be the perfect time, especially if you're a fan of beagles.

Around 200 of the lovable hounds have arrived at Southern California shelters, after a rescue operation at a Virginia laboratory breeding facility accused of animal abuse left thousands of beagles in need of better homes.

Humane Society of the United States
HSUS Animal Rescue Team members and volunteers interact with beagles at the organization’s care and rehabilitation center in Maryland on Thursday, July 21, 2022, after the organization removed a group of 201 beagles as part of a transfer plan from Envigo RMS LLC facility in Cumberland, VA. The Department of Justice asked the Humane Society of the United States to assume the responsibility of coordinating placement for approximately 4,000 beagles from Envigo, which bred dogs to be sold to laboratories for animal experimentation. (Kevin Wolf/AP Images for HSUS)

That rescue operation made national headlines last week. Several animal rescue organizations "embarked on a historic operation" to save around 4,000 dogs from a Cumberland, Virginia facility owned and operated by Envigo RMS LLC, according to a Humane Society of the United States release about the mission.

Envigo bred dogs to be sold to experimental laboratories, and the company is currently the subject of a lawsuit from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The lawsuit, filed in May of this year, alleges a number of violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

"Government inspectors found that beagles there were being killed instead of receiving veterinary treatment for easily treated conditions; nursing mother beagles were denied food; the food that they did receive contained maggots, mold and feces; and over an eight-week period, 25 beagle puppies died from cold exposure," the Humane Society said.

But now, the first of those 4,000 dogs and puppies have been removed from the facility.

"Despite the long day, the puppies perked up and immediately started bounding around their kennels and playing as soon as they settled in," said Jessica Johnson, senior director of the Animal Rescue Team for the Humane Society, in the release. "For these resilient puppies, hopefully their ear tattoos are the only reminders of their past."

The first transfer group contains 432 beagles, according to the Humane Society release. Those beagles will be moved to animal shelters in Virginia, Wyoming, and Southern California.

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Future transfer groups will go to those and other shelters partnered with the Humane Society to save the thousands of beagles from the facility.

From there, shelter employees will help them find safe and loving homes.

Priceless Pet Rescue, the SoCal animal rescue organization helping the first transfer group, has taken on "almost 200 beagles that will be headed back to California with us," according to a Facebook post.

"This is a huge mission, and we cannot say thank you enough to our drivers, the whole team back home, and most of all - you, who help make this possible," Priceless Pet Rescue said in the post from Thursday, July 21. "These missions take so much planning, work, stress, and most of all teamwork to pull off. We are thankful for the Humane Society stepping in and handling the dispersing of all dogs and making sure they go to safe, loving, forever homes instead of the inevitable."

Humane Society of the United States
HSUS Animal Rescue Team members and volunteers welcome beagles to the organization’s care and rehabilitation center in Maryland on Thursday, July 21, 2022, after the organization removed a group of 201 beagles as part of a transfer plan from Envigo RMS LLC facility in Cumberland, VA. The Department of Justice asked the Humane Society of the United States to assume the responsibility of coordinating placement for approximately 4,000 beagles from Envigo, which bred dogs to be sold to laboratories for animal experimentation. (Kevin Wolf/AP Images for HSUS)

Another post, shared on July 24, confirmed that the dogs arrived safely in Southern California.

Accordning to that post, the dogs spent "100 hours plus driving across country" to get to SoCal.

"It’s been so rewarding getting these pups settled in and headed to new foster families to give them all the love, attention, and care they deserve before finding forever families," the post read in part.

Priceless Pet Rescue has no-kill animal shelters in Chino Hills, Claremont and Costa Mesa, according to its website.

Further down the California coast in Rancho Santa Fe, the Helen Woodward Animal Shelter also took in some of the pups.

"These dogs were neglected the love, proper care, affection and socialization that companion dogs should be afforded as the facility they came from committed multiple animal welfare violations," the nonprofit says on a webpage about the rescue operation. "That is why we are stepping in to bring dozens of these beagles closer to their happily ever after."

The Helen Woodward Animal Shelter took in around 45 beagles.

For more information about the 4,000 rescued beagles and the Humane Society operation to help them, check out this website.

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