West Michigan participates in nationwide beagle rescue mission

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The local Humane Society is pitching in to help with the rescue of 4,000 mistreated beagles from Virginia. 

The Humane Society of West Michigan (HSWM) is taking part in a national rescue mission to save and rehome 4,000 beagles subjected to inhumane conditions at the hands of medical dog breeder Envigo RMS. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which regulates breeders that sell animals for research and testing, reported over 70 violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) at a beagle breeding facility run by Envigo RMS in Cumberland, Virginia over the past year.

The company that supplied the beagles to a medical research facility is now the subject of a lawsuit as the company was found housing animals in what the USDA labeled “prison-like” conditions. The facility had been on notice by the USDA since July 2021 for falling below AWA guidelines but had failed to restore housing facilities for the dogs to industry standards. 

USDA inspectors found numerous violations at the Envigo facility, including live insects, worms, maggots, beetles, flies, ants, mold and feces in the dogs’ food, and said 300 puppies died in the space of “unknown causes” during a seven-month period.

After a restraining order was taken out against the facility, a federal judge ordered the thousands of dogs to be released from the facility. Rescuers were given 60 days to rehome them. 

As part of the nationwide rescue mission to rehabilitate and rehome the animals, HSWM is anticipating receiving 25 dogs from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) in the coming weeks. The West Michigan facility is working alongside rescue organizations from California, Wyoming, Virginia, Wisconsin and more to rehome the beagles.

“We don’t know what to expect for medical or behavioral conditions when they arrive” said Amy Stockero, director of development and marketing for HSWM. “But, we know that the West Michigan community will ensure that they are cared for and get the help they need. We are thankful to be able to be a part of helping these animals out of such terrible conditions.”

Envigo’s Cumberland location is permanently closed. The company is a division of Inotiv, a biopharmaceutical discovery and development company headquartered in Indiana.

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