Beagles From Struggling Envigo Facility Have Been Adopted And Found New Homes In Massachusetts, Here’s What New Adopters Need To Know About These Dogs

For much of this summer, a massive rescue effort has taken place under the leadership of the Humane Society of the United States, to work with rescue partners nationwide to relocate and adopt nearly 4,000 beagles from a struggling Virginia livestock facility run by the Envigo Corporation.

While hundreds of these dogs arrived in Massachusetts beginning in June and continuing through the end of August, many have since found new homes locally through various animal rescue groups and shelters such as the Northeast Animal Shelter, the MSPCA-Angell, the Dakin Humane Society, the Animal Rescue League of Boston and Second Chance Animal Services.

One adopter, Susan Howe of Belchertown, owns six beagles – all of whom are rescues but with different stories and backgrounds. The two latest arrivals at her home, Tink and Gemma, are 3- and 4-year-old former breeding females from Envigo.

Howe, who has adopted rescue dogs throughout his life, accidentally started with two mixed-breed beagles and eventually adopted another beagle named Scout, who came from a research lab, and then a fourth rescued beagle. of a rural environment.

“I wasn’t really looking for two more dogs,” Howe said. “But this case hit and I thought, well, this is exactly the industry I’m trying to change the winds of.”

Howe, a former academic researcher and scientist, leads the Aisling Center, a nonprofit organization that seeks to end the use of dogs in research and product testing and to accelerate technologies that work more ” ethical, cost-effective, and effective in improving human and animal health,” as well as moving away from animal testing altogether.

Tink, her first Envigo beagle rescue, joined her home in June, followed a few weeks later by Gemma, her second, who was also pregnant at the time of her rescue and had just given birth.

Howe said Tink and Gemma were likely mated whenever they were in heat at the Envigo facility to produce several litters of pups a year; the pups eventually being weaned and separated from their mothers to be sold, used in research, or later used to breed themselves.

From her various experiences with rescue dogs from all walks of life, Howe has found some key commonalities and differences between these Envigo Beagles and other dogs she has rescued in the past – things that new and potential adopters of these Beagles may want to keep in mind.

One notable distinction Howe noticed was that Tink and Gemma were never toilet trained. Kept largely in cages with many other dogs every day, Howe said it was “whole new training” for these types of dogs and a challenge for them to learn to only pee and poop. outside.

“So in that way they’re like puppies,” she said, adding that in teaching them to do basics like this, having a second dog in the house can be an asset.

“Having an owner who is home all day is great.” Howe added that she was lucky to be able to work from home, but noted that not everyone has that option and it doesn’t necessarily disqualify an adopter, but isn’t ideal either.

She advised owners who may have several young children or those with busy lifestyles that will see them traveling a lot against adopting one of these beagles, saying “it’s probably not the right kind of dog to have.” bring them into their homes for the love of the dog.

Gemma and Tink, two female beagles rescued from Envigo’s facility in Virginia, who now have a new home in Belchertown with owner Susan Howe and four other beagles. Photo courtesy of MSPCA-Angell.

She said a key aspect for these beagles is a calmer environment with routines designed for them to reduce their stress and anxiety.

“We’re trying to replace a very traumatic routine with a new routine,” Howe said. “That’s what I learn about these dogs, is that they lived in captivity. They had a very small world, a stressful world with only a few things going on.

Without a routine, Howe said Tink and Gemma can be prone to barking and acting in response to changes, especially when they see or hear someone or something unfamiliar.

They also came from an environment with hundreds of other dogs all living in a warehouse, where many dogs barked simultaneously and almost constantly, Howe added.

In a personal belief, Howe is against crate training and said she is particularly not in favor of it for this type of beagle because “they have been in crate training all their lives”.

Nonetheless, Howe noted that some of the beagles “take refuge” in their crate if the door is also left open.

“It’s a safe space for them, but they’re not stuck in it,” Howe said. “They have an open door, they can come and go, and some of them just like to sleep in there.”

Although Howe hasn’t personally experienced this with her rescue beagles since she doesn’t use crates, she has said anecdotally that “many people” who have taken these beagles in notice that the beagles prefer to enter their box.

“That’s all they’ve ever known,” she said.

Howe added that Envigo beagles don’t walk well on a leash either.

“They’ve never been leashed before, you know, so an owner has to have a lot of patience and a lot of understanding that this dog isn’t just going to walk into your family and instantly know the kind of rules and regulations that we have for dogs,” Howe said.

Despite the potential challenges adopters may face incorporating these dogs into their homes, Howe ultimately said they are “not much different” from all other rescue dogs and that their past traumas are simply variations of trauma. seen in other rescues, but at the same time each dog is unique and does not fit into a specific mould.

“At the end of the day, they are the most amazing dogs. They’re so affectionate, they’re so forgiving, they’re so cuddly and cuddly and curious and playful and funny,” she said, noting the gentle and friendly nature of the breed. “They are great dogs.”

Howe added that she had seen “so much transformation” with her two Envigo beagles since taking them in, and noted that they were socializing well with her other dogs, having established trust and wanting to play together.

Gemma and Tink aren’t alone either, the MSPCA-Angell, one of the groups that has helped save hundreds of beagles, has posted more adoption success stories online.

Among them, a beagle named gigi began “living her best life” with her new family, another named Bulldozer gets along well with the children of his new family and enjoys playing with his pet companions, while a couple named Wendel and Sydney who have found new homes in Ottawa, Canada, according to the MSPCA-Angell.

Others like Hooper is said to be energetic and “lovingly tormenting” the older dogs in his new home, while the couple Attie and Ziva love the outdoors in their new home together and another beagle named Freedom moved in with two beagle companions – one of whom is a former lab dog, the MSPCA-Angell added.


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Jennifer R. Strohm