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January 7, 2014

Georgia Regents University to Stop Purchasing Dogs from Questionable Dealers following Undercover Investigation

An undercover investigation at Georgia Regents University has led to a significant change in one of the university’s animal research policies. Two months following the release of the investigation conducted by The Humane Society of the United States, GRU announced it will no longer purchase dogs from random source Class B dog and cat dealers,  who round up dogs and cats from various sources, such as shelters, auctions and free-to-good home ads to sell them to research laboratories.

The investigation revealed that GRU conducted business for years with Kenneth Schroeder, a random source dog dealer who has been charged by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for violations of the Animal Welfare Act. Six dogs purchased from Schroeder were used in dental experiments at GRU involving the suffering and death of the dogs during the undercover investigation. The Augusta Chronicle confirmed four additional dogs were purchased from the university in October 2013, weeks before the results of the investigation were released. The HSUS would like to see the university release those dogs to local rescue groups to be put up for adoption.

Kathleen Conlee, vice president of Animal Research Issues for The HSUS said: “We applaud this decision by GRU to stop business dealings with unscrupulous dog dealers. It is a major step in the right direction. We will continue to urge the university to make changes on other fronts, including an end to dental experiments on dogs.”

Reports by the National Academy of Sciences and the Government Accountability Office concluded the current oversight of random source Class B dealers cannot ensure that pets will not end up in research laboratories. In 2012, these findings led the National Institutes of Health to institute a phase out of funding for research involving acquisition of cats and dogs from random source dealers. The cat policy went into effect in October 2012 and NIH announced last month that the dog policy will go into effect Oct. 1, 2014. The dental experiments conducted by GRU were privately funded and would not have been affected by this NIH policy.

The HSUS extends its thanks to the local community in Augusta for their ongoing and strong support of efforts to make changes at GRU.

Timeline

  • Sept. 19, 2013: The USDA filed a legal complaint against Kenneth Schroeder for multiple and serious violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including obtaining dogs from unauthorized sources.
  • Nov. 20, 2013: The HSUS released the findings of its undercover investigation at GRU involving serious concerns about the use of dogs, primates and rodents at the institution.
  • Nov. 20, 2013: The HSUS filed petitions with the USDA and NIH urging investigation into violations of the Animal Welfare Act and Public Health Service Policy.
  • Dec. 7, 2013: More than 125 members of the Augusta community held a dog walk to protest GRU’s practices to urge the university to stop buying dogs from random source B dealers, end dental experiments on dogs and increase transparency with the public.

Media Contact: Samantha Miller: 301-258-1417; smiller@humanesociety.org

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