Federal authorities have formally secured the surrender of Envigo’s 4,000 remaining beagles at its Cumberland breeder mill, and rescue and shelter groups are working with the Humane Society of the United States to place dogs and puppies for adoption.
In a consent decree entered Friday by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, Envigo agreed to permanently stop engaging in any activity at its facility in Cumberland County that requires a license under the Animal Welfare Act. Envigo also agreed to relinquish all remaining beagles at the Cumberland facility to the Humane Society of the United States.
The agreement does not bar criminal charges against Envigo. It says it “does not bind any criminal prosecuting authority,” whether federal, state, or local.
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“This settlement brings to an end the needless suffering caused by Envigo’s blatant violations of animal welfare laws at this facility,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.
Inotiv, Envigo’s parent company, previously announced that it will close the Cumberland facility.
Inotiv said in a statement that the consent decree does not require that Envigo pay any fines or penalties to governmental agencies and that “it is expressly stated that the settlement is not an admission of liability or wrongdoing by Envigo with regard to its past operation of the Cumberland Facility.”
For now, beagles remain at the Envigo facility while the Humane Society coordinates the first transport, according to Miguel Abi-hassan, chief animal rescue, care and sanctuary officer for the Humane Society of the United States.
The Humane Society of the United States does not adopt animals out directly to the public. It is working with shelter and rescue partners that have their own adoption policies. He added that there is no central waiting list that would override the adoption policies of individual shelters and rescuers that are helping place the dogs.
So far, organizations that are working to provide placement for the Envigo beagles range from Homeward Trails Animal Rescue in Fairfax County to organizations in Massachusetts, Wyoming and California. Go to www.humanesociety.org/beaglerescue to view a list of organizations providing placement for the beagles.
Homeward Trails says anyone who wants to apply to adopt a beagle in the Washington area from Homeward Trails can email [email protected]
The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is working to bring some of the beagles to Massachusetts. It says a transport team will head to Virginia to bring up to 50 more dogs to the state and that it plans four more transport trips so many more can be relocated to Massachusetts.
“We are committed to removing all the beagles from the facility as quickly as we can so they can each begin their journey to find loving homes,” said Abi-hassan of the Humane Society of the United States.
He added: “There is not a deadline for the beagles to be adopted — some will likely be adopted very quickly once they are in the care of shelter and rescue partners, others may take many months to be adopted (such as nursing puppies who will not be old enough to be adopted for several weeks!).”
Last year, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals conducted an undercover investigation at Envigo’s Cumberland County facility. PETA posted disturbing video of beagles housed in what it called a “prisonlike factory.”
Daphna Nachminovitch, PETA’s senior vice president of Cruelty Investigations, said in a statement: “PETA’s investigation and complaint prompted dozens of the citations that U.S. attorneys and the court relied on in filing this precedent-setting case and ordering its resolution.”