Employees of the Atlanta Humane Society crouched on the ground, speaking in soft voices and holding treats and peanut butter to rouse the shy beagles from their kennels.
A member of staff even brought out a bottle of Cheez Whiz.
“We try to use positive reinforcement, so a lot happened yesterday,” Christina Hill, spokeswoman for the Atlanta Humane Society, told McClatchy News.
On June 15, 27 beagles arrived at the Atlanta Humane Society after being seized from a facility that breeds dogs to be sold to labs for testing, Hill said.
The dogs, who lived in cramped and unsanitary conditions, will need “extensive and extensive” care, according to a statement from the organization, which is soliciting donations.
Among the beagles, which range in age from a few months to 10 years, some have dental disease and others have cuts and scratches, Hill said. But while they grew up with minimal interaction with people and can’t walk on a leash, Hill said the dogs were friendlier than expected.
“They were happy. They were curious,” she said.
They are currently being evaluated and the organization aims to put them up for adoption, she said.
The group of 27 beagles were part of a larger cohort of more than 400 beagles seized from the facility, said Kirsten Peek, spokesperson for the Humane Society of the United States. The dogs were separated and taken to shelters across the country.
Peek said the Humane Society of the United States could not publicly disclose the facility or state where the dogs were seized.
Virginia Beagle Rescue
Kathy Guillermo, senior vice president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, told McClatchy News that 446 beagles were recently rescued from a breeding facility in Cumberland, Virginia owned by Envigo, a scientific research company. headquartered in Indiana.
The facility had been the target of dozens of complaints and citations as well as an undercover investigation by PETA, Guillermo said.
Pursuant to a search warrant in May, the Justice Department, with the assistance of the Humane Society of the United States, seized nearly 450 dogs from the facility who were deemed to be in “acute distress”, said Guillermo. About 3,000 dogs still remain at the facility.
In a June 13 statement, Robert Leasure Jr., vice president of Inotiv, a research company that acquired Envigo in November 2021, said the company had a plan in place to close the facility. breeding. It is expected to be closed by December 2022.
Guillermo expressed concern about the fate of the remaining 3,000 animals, which could still be sold to labs before the facility closes.
It is unknown if the beagles brought to the Atlanta Humane Society were in fact the beagles rescued from Virginia.
Sale of animals to laboratories
Although animal testing and raising animals for sale to laboratories are legal practices, facilities must comply with the Animal Welfare Act, a law that regulates the treatment of animals, said Peek.
Guillermo said beagles are the most common dog breed used in labs due to their gentle nature and affection for people.
For dogs rescued after living in harsh conditions with little contact with people, it may take some time to adjust to life outdoors, she said.
“They never climbed stairs, felt grass under their feet,” she said. “They don’t know what cars are. They have never interacted with other people except inside their own cage. Everything is new to them.
But many people have already expressed interest in the beagles recently brought to the Atlanta Humane Society, Hill said.
“Once they’re available for adoption, I’m sure they’ll be gone very quickly,” she said. “They are so cute.”