RICHMOND, Va. -- Officials with Richmond Animal Care and Control (RACC) said they will be one of the shelters helping the Humane Society of the United States find forever homes for some of those 4,000 beagles removed from Envigo's research breeding facility in Cumberland County.
"We can’t share the who/what/when right now but suffice to say we will be transferring many, many, many beagles and we will need your help!" RACC officials posted on the shelter's Facebook page Saturday morning.
Shelter workers said they first need volunteers to be foster families for the pups.
"If you can open up your heart and home to a beagle in need (specifically a mom and litter) please email Robin.firstname.lastname@example.org today," officials wrote.
Additionally, officials urged anyone considering adopting a pet to do so now to clear the shelter.
"Once we are cleared to share more details we will-until then-thank you for supporting RACC!" officials wrote.
The news comes after the first group of beagles was removed from Envigo's breeding facility in Cumberland County on Thursday. That group of more than 430 beagles was just the first step in trying to find homes for the over 4,000 dogs who were spared from being sold to labs for animal experiments.
“Despite the long day, the puppies perked up and immediately started bounding around their kennels and playing as soon as they settled in,” said Jessica Johnson, senior director of the Animal Rescue Team for the Humane Society of the United States. “For these resilient puppies, hopefully, their ear tattoos are the only reminders of their past.”
Homeward Trails, Priceless Pets, Helen Woodward Animal Center and Kindness Ranch Animal Sanctuary picked up the group of 432 dogs on Thursday.
“It takes a massive network of compassionate, expert shelters and rescue groups to make an operation of this scale possible,” said Lindsay Hamrick, shelter outreach and engagement director for the Humane Society of the United States. “We are deeply grateful to each organization that is stepping up to find these dogs the loving homes they so deserve.”
The transfer of the dogs comes following a lawsuit filed against the Envigo facility by the Department of Justice in May which alleged that there were violations of the Animal Welfare Act at the facility.
Government inspectors found a number of violations, including that beagles were being killed instead of receiving veterinary treatments, nursing mother beagles were denied food and the food given to the dogs was contaminated.
They also discovered that 25 puppies died from cold exposure.
"This is a truly historic moment in animal protection, as 4,000 beagles are spared a life of animal testing. We are honored that the Department of Justice asked us to lead this massive operation," Kitty Block, the president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said.
Those who are interested in adopting one of the beagles can view the HSUS' list of partners that are accepting the beagles into their adoption program here.