Last week, we along with several of our shelter and rescue partners embarked on a historic operation and removed the first 432 of approximately 4,000 beagles from Envigo RMS LLC’s facility in Cumberland, Virginia, which bred dogs to be sold to laboratories for animal experimentation.

I was on hand to help welcome a couple hundred of these beagles to our rehabilitation center in Maryland, and viewers online also got their first glimpses of these beagles via a livestream. (I suspect that many of those watching will be welcoming one of these beagles into their homes in the coming months!)

The Department of Justice asked the HSUS to assume the responsibility of coordinating placement for approximately 4,000 beagles from Envigo, which bred dogs to be sold to laboratories for animal experimentation.
Kevin Wolf/AP Images for the HSUS

As I recently detailed, the removal of these dogs from the breeding facility is the result of lawsuit filed against Envigo by the Department of Justice in May, alleging Animal Welfare Act violations at the facility. Government inspectors found that beagles there were being killed instead of receiving veterinary treatment for easily treated conditions; nursing mother beagles were denied food; the food that they did receive contained maggots, mold and feces; and over an eight-week period, 25 beagle puppies died from cold exposure. Other dogs suffered from injuries when they were attacked by other dogs in overcrowded conditions.

Kitty Block was present to help greet the first 201 beagles transferred to our care and rehabilitation center in Maryland.
Kevin Wolf/AP Images for the HSUS

It is difficult to articulate how moving it was to witness this truly historic moment in animal protection. Our Animal Rescue Team was ready for this challenge because this is who we are—what we have trained for: We take on what otherwise seems impossible.

As our team members unloaded pups from the transport van, the scale of this operation became more concrete: Our staffers emerged from the van over and over with literally armfuls of young beagles. Staff and volunteers from RedRover have been invaluable partners in our efforts to help these dogs settle in at our facility.

Staffers made sure that each beagle was accounted for, taking down the numbers that were tattooed on the inside of the ears of the beagles as they were unloaded from the transport van.
Kevin Wolf/AP Images for the HSUS

We are honored that the Department of Justice asked us to lead this massive transport operation, which includes some nursing beagle moms.

Beagle puppies settle in at our care center in central Maryland.
Kevin Wolf/AP Images for the HSUS

We are also deeply grateful to our dedicated independent rescue and shelter partners, a network of organizations in communities throughout the country. Thanks to them, these remarkable dogs will have wonderful homes and lives ahead of them, just as they deserve.

This first transfer of hundreds of beagles included some nursing beagle moms.
Kevin Wolf/AP Images for the HSUS

If you are interested in adopting one of the beagles, take a look at our growing list of partners that are accepting the beagles into their adoption programs.

Follow Kitty Block on Twitter @HSUSKittyBlock.