At least 4,000 beagles have been rescued from a dog farm in Virginia, and animal shelters are now gearing up to handle the “monumental” task of rehabilitating them through adoption.
A federal court last week authorized the rehabilitation of the facility’s dogs.
Envigo, the breeding facility in Cumberland, Va., supplies beagles for medical and research purposes and has been the subject of several lawsuits for violating federal laws.
More than 70 animal welfare violations were reported at the breeding facility after a series of inspections spanning nine months, CNN reported.
More than 300 beagle puppies died at the facility between January and July last year, according to court records.
The puppies and adult beagles at the facility were malnourished, injured and ill, a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia said.
The dogs were kept in small spaces where feces accumulated, the complaint said, adding that they had to undergo painful medical science experiments and received poor medical care at the facility.
Envigo’s parent company, Inotiv, has announced that it will close the Cumberland breeding facility in June.
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), in a July 7 statement, said: “At this time, we are in contact with our shelter and rescue partners and preparing to begin the monumental process of securing the placement of these dogs.
A transfer plan that had already been sent for approval by Envigo, the Justice Department and HSUS has received the green light from federal court, HSUS said.
“Now that the Court has approved the joint transfer plan, we and our partners are preparing to move quickly to place these beagles into loving homes,” he added.
One of the nonprofit and animal welfare groups, Homeward Trails Animal Rescue at Fairfax Station in Virginia, takes some of the beagles from the Envigo facility.
The group rescued 475 beagles from the breeding center last month.
Virginia Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner said in a statement at the time that they were “delighted to report that nearly 450 innocent dogs are finally free from abuse and neglect after being seized by federal officials and released by Envigo. “.
“We have spent months lobbying the Department of Agriculture to take action against Envigo over its persistent and egregious abuses of animal welfare laws, and we are pleased to see the efforts of application bear fruit,” they added.
This time around, Homeward Trails plans to rehabilitate 1,500 beagles and turn them over to partner organizations.
“We hope to begin this process around July 19,” Homeward Trails executive director Sue Bell wrote in an email to Fox News Digital.
The court asked the government to come up with a “plan for the expeditious removal of all dogs remaining at the Cumberland Institution”.