ARLINGTON, VA – Humane societies across the U.S. are coming together to try and find forever homes for 4,000 beagles rescued from a research and breeding facility in Virginia.

Over the last nine months, a number of inspections found the facility, Envigo RMS, had more than 70 animal welfare violations.

After reviewing mortality records, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) also found the facility had more than 300 puppy deaths between January 2001 and July 2021 that were listed as unknown.

USDA reports found the dogs were living in horrendous conditions this year; while several other reports revealed the facility performed unnecessary and painful experiments on the beagles including euthanizing the dogs without administering anesthesia.

After Federal authorities filed a complaint in court, a judge ordered the remaining 4,000 dogs be removed from the facility in 60 days; and a plan was approved last week to have the beagles transferred to shelters nationwide for adoption.

WGN News Now spoke to Naperville native and Waubonsie Valley High School alum, Sue Bell, the Founder and Executive Director of Homeward Trails Animal Rescue in Arlington, Virginia which is helping to coordinate logistics of the beagle rescue.

“We have been negotiating, as has the Humane Society of the United States, with this company because the court had mandated, they move all 4,000 remaining beagles to adoption groups and so we’re working closely with the Humane Society of the United States right now to make that happen in the next 60 days,” said Bell.

She expects the group will start moving the dogs off the facility’s premises around July 19th. Several groups in the mid-Atlantic region and across the country will receive beagles once they’ve been processed.

“The Humane Society for the United States is actually creating a web page where, as we secure these groups, we’ll be listing them by geography,” said Bell. “So, if you’re in Illinois, or Colorado or another state and interested in adopting you can go there in the next week or so to find if there’s a group in your area to take in these dogs. That is still something we’re working on, but there will be dogs across the country available for adoption.” 

Bell estimates the costs per dog will range between $275 to $675, and she welcomes donations. “We will have to spay and neuter these animals. We’ll need to get them current on their vaccines and their deworming protocols. We expect a number of them will need dental procedures,” said Bell. “So, donations made to Homeward Trails will not only help the beagles but it’s going to help us not have to dip into our medical fund which we desperately need for the other dogs and cats that remain in the shelters that we help. So, donations for the beagles will be used exclusively for the beagles and anything leftover will go to the thousands of dogs and cats that we continue to try to help every week.”

Bell said they are overwhelmed in a good way by the public’s outpouring of support and interest in the beagles and adds they will make amazing pets and family members.

Anyone interested in donating to Homeward Trails can do so at homewardtrails.org.

If you’re looking for information on fostering or adopting a beagle you can go to the Humane Society of the United States beagle rescue page.

You can see more of Bell’s interview and some of the beagles in the video above.