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Brandywine Valley SPCA receives 23 beagles that were among 4,000 rescued from Virginia facility

The Brandywine Valley SPCA is looking for foster homes for the puppies and young beagles, and expects to receive more adult beagles from the same rescue mission later this month.

Beagles rescued from a Virginia facility arrive at the Brandywine Valley SPCA's West Chester campus.
Beagles rescued from a Virginia facility arrive at the Brandywine Valley SPCA's West Chester campus.Read moreCourtesy of the Brandywine Valley SPCA

About two dozen beagles arrived Friday at the Brandywine Valley SPCA’s campus in West Chester, as shelters across the country work to find homes for nearly 4,000 beagles rescued last month from a Virginia facility that bred the animals to sell them to research labs for experimentation.

Brandywine Valley SPCA staff members picked up 23 beagles, all of which are puppies or juveniles, from a Humane Society of the United States facility in Maryland, and took them to BVSPCA’s West Chester campus. There, the dogs will be evaluated for medical and socialization needs.

BVSPCA called the rescue effort for all 4,000 dogs “one of the largest breeder rescue missions in the nation’s history.”

The shelter is the first in the region to receive dogs from the rescue effort.

The BVSPCA said that it expects many of the dogs to be available for fostering starting this weekend. The shelter is seeking families who can work with the animals on basics such as leash walking and house training.

The shelter expects to receive a second set of dogs from the rescue mission later this month. That group will consist of adult beagles.

For people who are unable to adopt or foster the dogs, but still want to help, the BVSPCA is accepting donations to help care for and rehome them.

“We’re full right now, like many shelters across the country, but this is one of those times when we’re going to stretch a little further and work a little harder for a critical need,” said BVSPCA CEO Adam Lamb. “We can’t wait to help these dogs join families who will cherish and love them beyond anything they thought possible.”

Nearly 4,000 beagles were rescued in July from a Cumberland, Va., facility owned by research company Envigo RMS. The removal of the dogs came following a Department of Justice lawsuit in May that detailed a number of violations of the Animal Welfare Act at the facility.

According to the Humane Society, inspectors found violations including dogs being killed rather than being given medical treatment, 25 beagle puppies dying from cold exposure, and dogs being fed food that contained maggots, mold, and feces. A number of dogs were also injured after being attacked by other dogs due to the crowded conditions at the facility.

“It takes a massive network of compassionate, expert shelters and rescues to make an operation of this scale possible,” said Lindsay Hamrick, Humane Society shelter outreach and engagement director. “We are deeply grateful to each organization that is stepping up to find these dogs the loving homes they so deserve.”