Judge approves plan to transfer beagles from struggling facility

CUMBERLAND, Va. (AP) — A federal judge on Tuesday approved a plan that would transfer about 4,000 dogs currently housed at a struggling Virginia breeding facility to shelters where they can be adopted, court records show. .

The development arose in a civil enforcement case the federal government initiated in May against Envigo RMS, which owns and operates the Cumberland facility that breeds beagles for medical research.

After federal officials accused the company of a series of animal welfare violations, U.S. District Court Judge Norman Moon issued a restraining order imposing a series of restrictions on the facility. In June, company officials announced plans to shut it down.

On Friday, Envigo and the government jointly filed a transfer plan that called for the removal of “all” beagles from the facility by the Humane Society of the United States, which will transport the dogs to shelters where they can be adopted.

According to court documents, Envigo will cover a monetary fee for each dog to help defray the cost to shelters of preparing beagles for adoption.

Court records show Moon issued an oral order approving the transfer plan on Tuesday. The deletion process should take about 60 days, according to the draft plan.

Hundreds of dogs deemed to be in “acute distress” had already been seized from the establishment.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the Norfolk-based animal rights group that had investigated the facility, celebrated the development on Tuesday.

“Surviving victims of Envigo will soon have the opportunity to have what every dog ​​deserves – the freedom to enjoy life, love and respect for their individuality as members of a family home,” said said Daphna Nachminovitch, PETA Senior Vice President, Cruelty Investigations. statement.