Rescuers have saved an estimated 4,000 beagles from a life of cruelty in the animal testing industry.
The beagles were being held at a massive breeding facility in the U.S. state of Virginia.
According to the BBC, the rescue is believed to be one of the biggest dog rescue efforts ever performed in the United States.
The thousands of beagles in question were going to be sold from the breeding facility to laboratories and animal testing facilities but they got a lucky break in life when the breeding facility was sued for animal cruelty.
The Humane Society of the United States reports that the dogs were freed from the breeding facility after it was sued for “repeated Animal Welfare Act violations.”
Reuters explained that the breeding facility, Envigo RMS LLC (under the parent company Inotiv Inc), was found to be euthanizing dogs rather than treating them for minor ailments, not offering them adequate food, and housing them in unsafe, crowded living spaces. Several puppies also died from cold exposure in the facility due to negligence.
The Justice Department of the United States sued the company and Inotiv Inc agreed to shut down the facility. They settled the lawsuit without paying any fines.
In an interview with Reuters, president and chief executive of the U.S. Humane Society, Kitty Block, revealed that the rescue effort isn’t a quick or cheap task.
She said: “It’s going to take 60 days to get all of these animals out, and working with our shelter and rescue partners across the country, working with them to get these dogs into, eventually into ever-loving homes.”
The Humane Society of the United States has been sharing updates about the rescue on Facebook.
While the dogs were formally identified only by an ID number tattooed on their bodies, they’ve been given names and will go on to find families and loving homes to call their own.
When batches of rescue beagles arrive at the Humane Society’s rehabilitation center, they’re treated to toys, treats, and plenty of love. They’re also allowed to decompress and get used to a new environment while waiting on a placement in a shelter or foster home.