NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. — Ten beagles who were among about 4,000 removed from a mass-breeding facility in Virginia will be available for adoption soon at the Nassau Humane Society in Fernandina Beach.
The Humane Society of the United States, or HSUS, is coordinating the effort to remove and place approximately 4,000 beagles housed at an Envigo RMS LLC facility in Cumberland, Virginia, which bred dogs to be sold to laboratories for animal experimentation.
The transfer plan resulted from a lawsuit filed against Envigo by the Department of Justice in May, alleging Animal Welfare Act violations at the facility, according to an HSUS statement. Repeated federal inspections have resulted in dozens of violations, including findings that some dogs had been “euthanized” without first receiving anesthesia, that dogs had received inadequate veterinary care and insufficient food, and that they were living in unsanitary conditions, HSUS said.
All of the beagles now at the Nassau Humane Society are 7-month-old males, said shelter director Mandy Holden. “They look remarkably healthy considering what they’ve been through,” she said. All have been seen by a vet in Maryland and have health certificates, she said.
They arrived Wednesday night and “are already adjusting very well,” Holden said Thursday. “Some are coming to us at the kennel doors to greet us.”
After going through NHS’s medical department intake, the dogs should be available for viewing and pre-adoption beginning Friday, Aug. 26. NHS hopes that after they are neutered, they should be available for adoption beginning Tuesday, Aug. 30.
“They will require patience and lots of love and slow introductions,” Holden said. “They are all very sweet and gentle, but they’ve never seen a leash before and have never been potty trained, so don’t expect turn-key dogs.”
NHS is one of about 10 rescues in Florida that received beagles, according to Holden. “The amazing crew at the Humane Society of Tulsa has been transporting these beagles from the facility in Virginia to shelters and rescues all over the country. On this trip, they had just over 100 beagles in their transport vehicle.”
“It takes a massive network of compassionate, expert shelters and rescues to make an operation of this scale possible,” said Lindsay Hamrick of HSUS. “We are deeply grateful to each organization that is stepping up to find these dogs the loving homes they so deserve.”
NHS, in turn, is grateful for the local community support that makes it possible for the shelter to help animals in cases like this. “We have a long history,” Holden said. “We have taken in dogs from hurricane disaster relief missions, a Korean meat market, potcake dogs from the Bahamas and homeless dogs from Puerto Rican rescue transfers.”
If you would like to help by adopting one of the beagles, please check NHS’s Facebook page for status updates. If you can’t adopt but still would like to help, donations are needed to pay for the dogs’ sterilization surgeries and any medical needs that may arise. Donations can be made at nassauhumane.org, at the shelter at 639 Airport Road in Fernandina Beach, or by calling 904-321-1647.
“And please, if you are looking to adopt a beagle from our facility, consider taking a walk around and meeting all of our animals,” Holden said. “You could fall in love with any dog here. They’re all ready for a loving home.”
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