Humane society seeks men for beagles rescued from animal testing lab

MIDLAND, Mich. (WNEM) – They were bred at a facility in Virginia to be sold to labs and used for animal testing.

Now a local humanitarian society is joining other organizations across the country to find permanent homes for some of the 4,000 beagles rescued from appalling conditions.

In May, the United States Department of Justice sued the company that owns the facility, Envigo, alleging violations of animal welfare law.

Inspectors found dogs being killed instead of receiving veterinary care for easily treatable illnesses or injured because they lived in overcrowded cages.

Nursing beagles were refused food or given food that contained maggots, mold and feces. At least 25 beagle puppies have died from exposure to the cold.

Envigo agreed to a settlement last month to shut down the facility, but it has not admitted any wrongdoing.

“I have never touched grass. I’ve never known life outside of a cage,” said Beth Wellman, director of the Humane Society of Midland County.

Wellman said the male dogs, between seven and nine months old, are available for foster care. This means the beagles can go home, but the HSOMC ends up taking care of their medical needs, instead of sitting in the shelter for weeks.

“They desperately deserve to be in homes and to start living their lives,” Wellman said.

Wellman said beagles were used for research in Michigan. That’s why she wants state lawmakers to act on legislation known as “Teddy’s Law.”

“Teddy’s Law doesn’t stop animal research. But what it does do is that after the experiments are over, it makes it possible for some of those animals to be adopted,” Wellman said.

The proposed measure has been at the committee on regulatory reform since May 2021. Wellman is urging that committee’s chair, State Rep. Roger Hauck, to move the bill forward. TV5 contacted Hauck’s office, but he was unavailable.

Wellman said lives were at stake.

“There are currently over 600 beagles in the Michigan testing facility, which once they’re done, they’re going to be euthanized,” Wellman said.

As of Wednesday morning, 27 of 50 Virginia beagles were still available. Mark Kennedy stopped by to take one home for his family.

“Oh, that’s just awesome. I’ve been around beagles all my life. So it would be nice to make sure one of them has at least one other man,” Kennedy said.

For his part, Wellman expects all beagles to have a new home soon.

“I’m very happy that these beagles and these new families can help them learn what life is like now,” Wellman said.

If you are interested in adopting one of the beagles, contact the Humane Society of Midland County for more information.