Rescues are underway for 4,000 beagles that are being released from a breeding facility in Cumberland, Virginia due to mistreatment and will now be brought to shelters and rescues around the country over the next two months.

While Utah shelters won’t be receiving any of the beagles, there are ways Utahns can give the dogs a home through the Humane Society website. The published the list of state partners that will take the beagles include Virginia, Massachusetts, California, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Kansas, Maryland, North Carolina and Wisconsin.

Today reported that due to complaints filed in a federal court by U.S. authorities in May, inspections of the Envigo breeding and research facility found the beagles were severely mistreated.

Volunteer Caiti Flippin holds two beagle puppies at the Humane Society of Tulsa on Thursday, July 28, 2022 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Humane Society of Tulsa received 208 of 4,000 beagles being evacuated from a breeding facility in Virginia. The facility breeds the dogs for medical testing facilities. | Mike Simons, Tulsa World via Associated Press

According to The Associated Press, over the past two years the facility has been in violation of multiple federal regulations and officials found the beagles were in “acute distress.” The dogs were sick, hungry and some were even found dead.

After inspections from lawmakers, a federal judge approved a plan in July to rescue the beagles and put in motion rescue organizations and several volunteers to help aid the dogs. 

Envigo’s website says it breeds “healthy, well-socialized animals.” The research organization was bought by Inotiv and works with different entities in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries.

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According to The New York Times, the Humane Society of the United States took 201 beagles in the first group to leave Envigo and brought them to a center in Maryland. About 230 other dogs were released in the second group and went directly to rescue partners.

The dogs were previously identified by Envigo using tattoos of numbers and letters on the inside of their ears. Their foster and adoptive families are now naming them for the first time.

Kitty Block, the chief executive and president of the Humane Society, said if the court had not intervened some of the dogs would have likely ended up at testing facilities and would have died.

“They deserve to be on couches, on dog walks with you in the park,” Block said.

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The dogs’ aftercare will include additional veterinary examinations and routine check ups to prepare them for adoption. CNN reported an emphasis will be placed on dogs that are pregnant, juvenile or mother dogs.

Lindsay Hammock, the Humane Society’s shelter outreach and engagement director, said the Humane Society is prepared to rescue 300 to 500 dogs a week from the facility and begin care for them. Hammock also explained that the beagles will need time to adapt to their new surroundings and environment from their previous experience.

“Everything, from the way that grass feels to watching cars drive by, it’s all going to be a brand new experience for them,” Hammock said.

The rescue effort has been a collaborative effort by communities around the nation. Angela Speed, vice president of communications for Wisconsin’s Humane Society, said “Their lives have been completely transformed. Animal lovers step up to help, and that’s what makes this possible.”