Search beagles reach rescue groups as campaign to repatriate 4,000 dogs begins : NPR

Sue Bell holds one of more than a dozen beagles that arrived at the headquarters of animal rescue group Homeward Trails in Fairfax Station, Va., on Thursday, while posing for a portrait. The dogs were a small part of around 4,000 beagles rescued from a research facility where conditions proved to be inhumane.

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Sue Bell holds one of more than a dozen beagles that arrived at the headquarters of animal rescue group Homeward Trails in Fairfax Station, Va., on Thursday, while posing for a portrait. The dogs were a small part of around 4,000 beagles rescued from a research facility where conditions proved to be inhumane.

Amanda Andrade-Rhoades for NPR

The first group of about 4,000 beagles in the care of a research center in Virginia were brought to their new temporary homes.

More than a dozen beagles arrived at the Homeward Trails Animal Rescue facility in Virginia on Thursday. It was the first of many deliveries as hundreds of rescue groups across the country mobilize in the coming weeks to bring the beagles back.

The dogs explore the toys and their surroundings after arriving at the Homeward Trails animal rescue group in Fairfax Station, Va., on Thursday.

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The dogs explore the toys and their surroundings after arriving at the Homeward Trails animal rescue group in Fairfax Station, Va., on Thursday.

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Eva Brandan pulls a beagle out of a bus after more than a dozen beagles arrive at Homeward Trails.

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Eva Brandan pulls a beagle out of a bus after more than a dozen beagles arrive at Homeward Trails.

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Janice du Plessis, animal trainer, supervises the beagles who explore the wild after the arrival of the dogs.

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Janice du Plessis, animal trainer, supervises the beagles who explore the wild after the arrival of the dogs.

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The Humane Society of the United States is spearheading efforts to transfer these dogs from their current home at the Envigo facility in Cumberland, Virginia to shelters. The organization has only a few weeks to achieve this.

Earlier this year, the Envigo facility, which bred these beagles for pharmaceutical research and testing, was found to be in violation of several federal regulations. A federal judge ordered the dogs released within 60 days.

Homeward Trails staff members examine one of the newly arrived beagles.

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Homeward Trails staff members examine one of the newly arrived beagles.

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Annie Esquivel (left) and Kelsey Moncrief put a temporary collar on a dog, newly named Neema.

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Annie Esquivel (left) and Kelsey Moncrief put a temporary collar on a dog, newly named Neema.

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Animal rescue groups from Wyoming, Massachusetts, Virginia and beyond are working together to help with this Herculean effort.

“Finding partners who can make room and find homes for approximately 4,000 dogs in the summer – a time of year when animal shelters are already over capacity – will be a feat of epic proportions,” said Kitty Block. , president of the Humane Society of the United States, wrote on her blog.

Kindness Ranch, an animal rescue group from Wyoming, also traveled to Virginia this week. The organization has already named the first of more than 150 beagles they will rescue from Envigo: He’s Uno.

Annie Esquivel carries a beagle across the grass at Homeward Trails.

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Annie Esquivel carries a beagle across the grass at Homeward Trails.

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One of the dogs is drinking from a kiddie pool.

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One of the dogs is drinking from a kiddie pool.

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Meghan Hobson lowers a dog to the ground at Homeward Trails.

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Meghan Hobson lowers a dog to the ground at Homeward Trails.

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It will be some time before these dogs are up for adoption. Envigo beagles should be evaluated by each of these rescue groups and checked for any illnesses or behavioral issues before they arrive in their forever home.

In the meantime, the dogs seem to be enjoying their freedom.

Grass! The grass is clean!

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Grass! The grass is clean!

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Dogs greet each other after arrival.

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Dogs greet each other after arrival.

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Homeward Trails shared videos of the dogs’ first moments arriving at their facility on social media. The dogs sniffed the ground enthusiastically, played with toys and ran across the grass for the first time.

And on their first full day of freedom, the beagles were treated to a well-deserved spa day, the organization announced.

“These cuties enjoyed a bubble bath and massage followed by an afternoon of romping in the backyard, cuddling in our Peace Out rooms, freezing kongs and a cool nap,” Homeward wrote. Trails. “Oh how awesome it is to be FREE to be a DOG! For dogs that have spent their entire lives in a kennel, these cuties truly embrace life and love.”

A beagle sits in a corner of the Animal Rescue Group facility.

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A beagle sits in a corner of the Animal Rescue Group facility.

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Jessica Powers fondles one of the newcomers.

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Jessica Powers fondles one of the newcomers.

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One of the rescued beagles receives affection.

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One of the rescued beagles receives affection.

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