RICHMOND, Va. — U.S. senators from Virginia on Thursday asked a federal agency to immediately suspend the license of a dog-breeding facility where recent inspections found repeated animal welfare violations.
The senses. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine issued a joint letter asking the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to suspend Envigo’s license for its Cumberland facility for 21 days, revoke its license altogether and consider civil penalties of up to $730,000.
“It is clear to us that Envigo has failed in its duty to provide humane care to its dogs and is unable to meet the basic standards set forth in animal welfare law,” the Democratic senators wrote.
The company, which breeds dogs for research, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.
Warner and Kaine said that over nine months, four inspections at the facility revealed 73 violations. Among them were housing violations that led to injured dogs; insufficient cleaning and sanitation; insufficient staff; and cases of euthanasia performed without sedation.
“Perhaps most infuriating is the fact that between January and July 2021, over 300 puppy deaths were attributed to unknown causes, and it was found that the facility had ‘taken no further action. to determine the causes of death in order to avoid similar deaths “in the future,” the letter said, citing one of the inspection reports.
Warner and Kaine also raised concerns in their letter about what they said were delays in releasing the “horrific findings” from the inspections. They posed a series of questions to the inspection service, which is part of the US Department of Agriculture, including on the timing of the release of reports and whether inspectors will return for a fifth time to monitor the progress of corrective actions.
The senators demanded a response by April 20.
The Virginia General Assembly this year passed several animal welfare measures intended to strengthen facility requirements and strengthen state oversight. The measures await action by Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin.
The senators’ letter came after U.S. Representative Elaine Luria joined six other representatives in February in writing to the Inspectorate, raising similar concerns about why Envigo’s license had not been suspended.