A plane carrying precious cargo arrived at Gillespie Field on Wednesday afternoon: 108 rescued beagles. They were greeted with happiness and enthusiasm by the staff and volunteers of the San Diego Humane Society.

San Diego Humane Society President Gary Weitzman landed the first pup from the plane.

“She’s really excited…and she deserves to be. (It’s the) first time she’s come out of a research lab, so that’s really great news,” he said in transporting the small dog in an air-conditioned vehicle ready for use. . The beagle barked and waggled its tail along the way.

Beagles are no ordinary rescue dogs. This is the latest batch of 4,000 beagles rescued by a Virginia-based company that breeds and sells animals for scientific testing. The rescue came after the Justice Department filed a complaint.

They arrived in San Diego during a heat wave, so many volunteers lined the tarmac and pushed the dogs towards waiting air-conditioned cars.

One by one, the beagles were packed up and quickly transported to the Humane Society’s El Cajon animal campus, where dozens of staff and volunteers worked overtime, preparing to accommodate the special delivery. There, the beagles will be vaccinated and microchipped, and undergo physical and metal health checks as well as playtime.

“We have pools set up so they can have a big water party because it’s going to be so hot here today,” said Hope Huston, animal care manager at the San Diego Humane Society.

Weitzman said the Humane Society will immediately place the beagles in foster homes. But he said the Society will need donations to support their care until the beagles are well enough to go into forever homes.

Weitzman said they felt honored to be part of the beagles’ journey to a safe, normal and happy life.

“We’re thrilled to be able to help them get into backyards and living rooms and a family they love,” he said.