Dozens of beagles that were meant to be used for experiments in research projects will now have the chance to live with Spokane area families.
The Spokane Humane Society has taken in 25 of the beagles and SpokAnimal has accepted 16 from among the estimated 4,000 rescued from a breeding facility in Virginia. An organization called Greater Good Charities flew about 160 dogs into Portland on Saturday to be distributed to several animal rescue organizations in the region, said SpokAnimal Executive Director Dori Peck.
Taking in so many animals was a significant commitment from the organization, which has 40 kennels.
Many pet rescue organizations across the country have mobilized to find homes for the 4,000 beagles that were at the Envigo breeding and research facility in Cumberland, Virginia. A federal judge approved a plan last month to rescue the dogs after inspections found beagles hungry, sick, mistreated and, in some cases, dead, according to the New York Times.
“It’s a breeding facility for selling puppies to research facilities,” Peck said. “They had too many infractions in three years time. They were finally shut down.”
Peck said beagles are often used for various research purposes because they’re small, friendly, and generally healthy with no genetic defects.
“There are 60,000 beagles bred every year for research,” she said. “You’d think we’d be beyond that, but we’re not.”
The Humane Society of the United States was asked to handle finding homes for all the dogs turned over when the facility shut down. Peck said the organization spent weeks reaching out to rescues all across the country to see who would be able to accept some of the dogs.
Peck said the dogs are in good health and will be spayed or neutered this week.
“They’ve been vetted to the hilt before they got here,” she said. “They’ve gotten their vaccines and everything.”
The national Humane Society has been extremely helpful, Peck said, and paid for shelter staff to travel to Oregon to pick them up. They also provided a stipend for each dog to pay for their spay and neuter operations.
“We’re just really grateful we were able to help,” she said.
As word spread about the arrival of the dogs over the weekend, Peck began receiving emails. She said that by Monday morning she received over 700 emails from people interested in adopting one of the dogs.
“I wish I had 700 emails for every dog,” she said.
Peck and her staff will spend the week sifting through the emails to find suitable pet parents for the new arrivals. Many people think of beagles as cute, but they’re actually quite noisy, Peck said.
“We’d like experienced beagle owners and hound owners because they’re loud,” she said. “They definitely need a fenced yard. They follow their nose.”
Looking for people who fit those criteria will likely narrow the search, but Peck said she expects there to be plenty of qualified candidates.
“We’re probably going to have to put them in a bucket and draw names,” she said.
The Spokane Humane Society has announced on its web site that the beagles it took in were placed in foster homes while they get their spay and neuter operations and become acclimated to nonresearch facility living.
People interested in applying to adopt one of the beagles can visit spokanehumanesociety.org/beagles.