RICHMOND, Va. -- Dozens of beagles seized from the shuttered Envigo breeding facility in Cumberland County experienced their first sniff of freedom.
Richmond SPCA CEO Tamsen Kingry said Homeward Trails Animal Rescue delivered 90 of the nearly 4,000 beagles to their Hermitage Road humane society on Friday morning.
Ten of the beagles, including older dogs used solely for breeding, will stay in Richmond to be treated and adopted. The others were transported to shelters in Williamsburg and Virginia Beach.
“This is a great day,” Kingry said. “What’s so heartwarming about this entire effort is that these 4,000 dogs will not have to live their lives for research purposes and enjoy what it feels like to be comforted and loved in a permanent home. The Richmond SPCA is excited to be a part of that.”
Daphna Nachminovitch worked on the Envigo investigation as PETA’s senior vice president of their cruelty investigations department.
She said the dogs were all born in cages and never socialized.
Beagles are exploited for their good temperaments, according to PETA. If not saved, the dogs would be shipped across the world for experimentation and then killed.
Employees at the Envigo facility tattooed the puppies’ ear at five weeks old.
“They’ve never walked on grass. They’ve never had the sun on their back, a name or a toy,” she recalled. “This case has opened Virginia’s and America’s eyes to the fact that animals are still used in experiments this day and age in the 21st century.”
Envigo denies the allegations.
The Humane Society of United States and other organizations are delivering the dogs to shelters across Virginia and the country.
The SPCA will ensure the dogs are healthy and vaccinated before they’re available for adoption in a few weeks. They have agreed to continue accepting 10 additional dogs until they’re all adopted.
Richmond Animal Care and Control also continues to receive groups of the beagles. RACC said in a Facebook post on Friday that two of the rescued dogs were ready for adoption.
FULL INTERVIEW: PETA vice president on Envigo beagles arriving at Richmond SPCA