GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Twenty-five beagles have arrived to a better life in West Michigan on Wednesday after a pharmaceutical testing facility in Virginia was closed.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture found 39 welfare violations at Envigo RMS, LLC in Cumberland, VA. Additionally, court documents show the company had only 17 workers to care for more than 5,000 dogs.
Susan Seward with the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association said, “this is woefully inadequate and that is why we ended up with 300 dead puppies.”
The facility has subsequently closed and left 4,000 beagles in need of a home. Destination shelters across the U.S. traveled to Virginia with the West Michigan Humane Society taking 25 dogs back.
“What we are seeing is they are not necessarily used to being what we would say a dog [is],” said Amy Stockero, director of marketing and development. “They don’t know how to use the bathroom. They don’t know how to walk on a leash. They don’t understand doors … They’re going to have to learn.”
Stockero said the dogs are used to being in cages and around other pups. It is the humane society’s goal to get the dogs adopted or fostered out as soon as they’re ready to socialize with people. Perspective dog owners will need to be particularly patient with these beagles. They will need to help the dogs “establish that humans are going to be positive interactions,” Stockero said.
The beagles’ rescue comes as humane societies nationwide deal with overcapacity issues. West Michigan’s humane society has close to 400 animals currently in its care. “Animals aren’t necessarily moving through shelters as quickly,” Stockero said. “We saw when people were working from home they used that opportunity to bring animals home.”
To help support the beagles or for adoption applications, visit the Humane Society of West Michigan website.