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By Jennifer Kocher, Cowboy State Daily

Two years ago, when John Ramer rescued 30 beagles, he had no idea where it would lead.

That number has grown exponentially in recent weeks for Ramer and his team as his nationwide efforts to save rescued lab animals continue to grow.

Over the next two months, Ramer and his team at Kindness Ranch will facilitate the Herculean feat of rescuing approximately 4,000 beagle puppies from the beleaguered Envigo, a beagle breeding facility in Virginia that sells test animals. The facility was recently shut down following a lengthy investigation by animal rights groups.

Ramer is the executive director of the Rescue Ranch in southeast Wyoming, which is the only animal sanctuary in the state and nation to house only rescued laboratory animals used in clinical trials and medical research. Beagles, which are the animals most used in laboratory tests, represent the bulk of Ramer’s savings.

Ramer has worked quietly behind the scenes with Envigo to provide homes for the dogs. This required him to purchase a new carrier vehicle to help deliver the dogs to Wyoming and to facilities across the United States.

“I’m the ‘broker beagle’ now,” Ramer said. “It’s a very fluid situation, and how it will play out is changing minute by minute.”

At this point, Kindness Ranch, which also houses horses, pigs, llamas, rabbits, cats, goats and more, has adopted over 500 beagles this year alone. Despite the daunting task ahead, Ramer remained steadfast about the importance of this work and what drives him.

“Recovering a single dog from a research facility is one of the most heartwarming things I’ve ever been involved in,” he said. “Being able to hold and connect with this dog creates a special bond like no other.”

The value of this bond and the payoff of giving animals homes far outweighs any judgment against Envigo or any other medical facility it works with to save dogs from euthanasia.

He views his role as a neutral negotiator who is able to save animals based on the relationships he has established with medical and product facilities in addition to the breeding facility in Virginia and deliberately avoids the politics surrounding the animal testing and those who wish to use animals as a means to further their cause.

“I want to be very clear about this,” he said. “If you only want to help further your advocacy agenda against research or breeding and these beautiful souls are just a tool to use to do so, your request for help will be denied. These animals have suffered enough, they deserve to be in homes and not used as props.

Currently, Ramer is seeking donations and volunteers to help transport and relocate these 4,000 beagles who have never known a home environment.

“It will take a lot of patience for them to acclimatize to their new surroundings,” he said.

Time is running out, Ramer added, noting that they only have a small window to get all those puppies out of the Virginia facility.

“We have very little time to do all of this,” he said. “We need dog food, dog bowls, dog blankets, leashes and more. We also need money. It’s expensive to drive across the country right now, and castrations and castrations for that number of animals don’t come cheap.

Anyone interested in transportation or an organization that might be able to help can contact [email protected] Those interested in donating, adopting, fostering, or who have questions about the process should contact [email protected]

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