Over 4,000 beagles that were being kept in inhumane conditions at a breeding center have landed in a better place, according to an animal rescue organization.
The Humane Society of the United States announced Friday that it removed the last group of dogs from Envigo RMS LLC's facility in Cumberland, Virginia, at the request of the United States Department of Justice, which investigated the facility for inhumane conditions.
The Humane Society said it worked with 120 shelter and rescue partners to rescue all the dogs since July and has already begun working to find them homes with loving families.
"Now the beagles' next steps begin as they enjoy their new lease on life," Miguel Abi-Hassan, chief animal rescue, care and sanctuary officer for the Humane Society, said in a statement.
Envigo RMS LLC and the federal government entered a consent decree in July agreeing that it is permanently barred from "engaging in any activity at its facility in Cumberland, Virginia, that requires an Animal Welfare Act (AWA) license." This move followed a lawsuit in May by the Justice Department that said it found "evidence of extensive, ongoing AWA violations" as the result of a search warrant.
The dogs were being bred for research purposes by the company.
In a statement posted on its website in July, the parent company of Envigo, Inotiv said it does not have to pay any fines or face any penalties for its involvement in the issue as a result of the consent decree.
Several families have already adopted some of the beagles including some celebrities such as Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, and Prince Harry.
Kitty Block, the president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said an average of 60,000 dogs are used in laboratories each year and pushed for more oversight against inhumane conditions.
"Even as we celebrate these lucky dogs going to loving homes, we're focused on creating a future where no dogs will face that kind of fate," she said in a statement.