Many dogs that had reportedly been confined to a corporate facility with wretched conditions got a sniff of freedom and plenty of loving care Tuesday afternoon when they arrived by van in Calvert County. The 20 beagles are rescues from the infamous dog breeding facility located in Cumberland, Va., which is owned by Envigo, a Midwest-based scientific research company.
According to court documents, this past May the federal government filed suit in U.S. District Court in Virginia against Envigo, claiming the company was “engaged in serious and ongoing violations of the animal welfare act.”The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued an inspection report last summer, chronicling a variety of violations, including poor record-keeping, dangerous housing and inadequate veterinary care.
In late July, an animal rescue team from The Humane Society of the U.S. began removing thousands of beagles from the facility and began the task of finding homes for the dogs that had been spared from animal experimentation.
The national Humane Society called the liberation of the beagles of Cumberland, Va., their “largest operation ever.” The organization put out a plea to to its many rescue partners to find permanent homes for the rescues.
“We stepped up a while back,” said Tonya Gott, president of the Calvert County Humane Society. Word came that 20 of the young beagles would be transported from another facility in Hagerstown with the local chapter’s headquarters in Sunderland the destination.
Gott and the all-volunteer staff at Calvert Humane Society’s shelter were ready to welcome the dogs Aug. 23. Each beagle was microchipped. Dog-lovers who had applied to be fosters for 13 of the beagles were expected to be on site as well.
“They are all going to be adopted,” said Gott.
Kathleen Summers of the Humane Society, who drove the van from Hagerstown to Sunderland for the delivery, told Southern Maryland News the 20 beagles, which were in individual crates, were well-behaved during the two-hour trip.
“They didn’t bark or fuss,” said Summers. “They felt soothed when we got on the road.”
Gott said Calvert’s Humane Society’s shelter is open 365 days a year. The organization has over 100 volunteers. She added that there are plans in the works to conduct a capital campaign with a goal of building a new, modern facility.
Anyone interested in adopting a beagle or any of the other dogs at the local Humane Society’s shelter is urged to visit the organization’s website and fill out an application form at humanesocietyofcalvertcounty.org.