SOUTH ELGIN, Ill. — The phrase ‘Sweet Home Chicago’ has even more significance this week as more than 100 beagles rescued from a Virginia breeding facility arrived in the suburbs in search of a forever home.

The canines are part of what’s said to be one of the largest dog rescues in the country.

A federal judge ordered 4,000 beagles removed from Envigo RMS in Cumberland, Virginia for violations of the Animal Welfare Act and for performing painful experiments on the dogs.

Humane societies across the country rallied to help the beagles, including Anderson Humane in South Elgin.

WGN News Now spoke to Dean Daubert, Chief Operations Officer for the organization, about their efforts.

He, along with a team of eight, drove more than thirteen hours each way to Virginia to retrieve the beagles.

“I gotta tell ya’ they’re just adorable. They’re the cutest little things,” said Daubert. “I thought, in my mind, they were going to be howling all the way back, but they were good as gold. They were so quiet.” 

The beagles arrived in South Elgin around midnight on Tuesday and were treated to a special meal of hamburger and rice.

Later that morning, they underwent visual and medical checks to see if they were ready to go into foster care, then they visited Anderson Humane’s veterinarian for a full examination and neutering.

“These animals haven’t had a lot of interaction with people, at least positive interactions with people, and weren’t really socialized to things like grass or televisions or those type of things that are commonplace for most dogs to see,” said Daubert. “Now I can tell you, I was pleasantly surprised about how solicitous of affection that they were. I mean those beagles were coming up, they were a little scared, right, they were conflicted, but they wanted some human interaction. So I think that when they get home with a lot of love, they are going to be just fine.”

All of the beagles have been put in the foster system and there has already been plenty of interest generated from would-be owners.

“We actually had about 300 people sign up for the fosters. So, we went through and prioritized people with dogs and with experience,” said Daubert. “But that doesn’t mean that the people who sign up can’t foster with Anderson Humane. We get dogs in every single week from under-resourced shelters down south and the public, and the only way we can adopt out the 4,500 animals that we get each year is with a robust foster program. So, we are counting on those folks to continue to help us to foster the rest of the animals in our shelter.”

Anderson Humane is taking donations to help care for the beagles, so if you are interested in donating or sponsoring a beagle’s medical care, you can find more information on their website by clicking here