There’s a lot of terrible news, so here’s one with a happy ending – but a warning, some of the early details are distressing.

About 4,000 beagles are rescued from a facility that bred and sold animals for lab testing, after an investigation found the dogs were subjected to harsh and inhumane conditions. According to a court filing from May this year, this included dogs who were still nursing puppies being denied food; dogs receiving food contaminated with mold, live insects and feces; dogs with treatable diseases being euthanized instead of treated, sometimes killed inhumanely without anesthesia; and unsafe conditions at the facility, including an accumulation of food and animal waste and a lack of air conditioning in at least one building.

The New York Times reported that a team of US Department of Agriculture inspectors who visited the facility in June last year encountered a dog whose paw had been stuck in the ground for an unknown amount of time – but long enough for her to start suffering from dehydration.

Overall, the USDA found more than 70 animal welfare law violations during nine months of inspections.

The Cumberland, Virginia facility is operated by a company called Envigo, which was acquired by parent company Inotiv Inc. in November 2021. Inotiv announced last month that the facility would be closed. The Humane Society also conducted a seven-month undercover investigation that uncovered other potential animal welfare law violations at another Inotiv facility in Indiana, a pharmaceutical testing lab where animals, including dogs, pigs, primates and rodents, are used to test drug toxicity.

145 dogs were seized from the Cumberland facility in May after being assessed as requiring urgent or life-saving care, and a total of 446 dogs have been removed so far. Sue Bell, who is the founder and executive director of Homeward Trails Animal Rescue in Virginia, told CNN that puppies and pregnant and nursing dogs were given priority for removal next, with up to 250 other dogs due to be returned today. today.

how to help

The Humane Society of the United States will be transporting the thousands of remaining dogs to shelters and shelters across the country over the next few months at their own expense, and is therefore asking for donations to help the rescue effort. The Company calls this “historic operation” its “biggest ever”.

“Finding partners who can make room and find homes for approximately 4,000 dogs in the summer – a time of year when animal shelters are already over capacity – will be a feat of epic proportions,” states an article on The Humane Society blog credited to Sara Amundson, Chair of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.

The nonprofit also has resources for rescue and shelter organizations who want to raise their paws to take in the facility’s dogs, and for people who want to adopt one or more of the dogs — you can find out more on their dedicated “4,000 Beagles” information page.