PORTLAND, Maine — The Humane Society of the United States has been tasked with finding homes for close to 4,000 beagles after a breeding shelter in Virginia was shut down for violating the animal welfare act. The beagles have been sent to states across the country to find their forever homes, and the last 100 are now here in Maine.
"We're really honored to play a part in these beagles' final destination to our state to find them wonderful homes here," Jeana Roth from the Animal Refuge League of Great Portland said.
100 beagles are now in Maine after close to 4,000 were rescued from the Envigo facility in Virginia.
The facility breeds beagles and sells them for animal testing. While that's still legal in the United States, this facility was in violation of multiple animal welfare regulations such as; nursing dogs being denied food and the food that was provided was contaminated, beagles dying from cold exposure, overcrowding, and not caring for treatable illnesses instead putting the dogs down.
Katie Hansberry is the Maine state director of the Humane Society of the United States, she said this is a historic rescue.
"Four thousand dogs all at once in the course of six weeks, nothing like that has ever been undertaken," she added.
The dogs that are now in Maine range from puppy to about 5 or 6 years old.
There are nine shelters getting these dogs, including the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland.
Jeana Roth works at the refuge league, she said this rescue is different because all of these dogs don't know a life outside the four walls of their kennels.
"Knowing what these dogs have been through and knowing that they've been housed in kennels without any of the comforts of home and being able to give them yards to run in, toys to play with," she said.
These dogs were flown from a temporary shelter in Maryland by Rick Browde and Wings of Rescue.
"These dogs are the most well-behaved passengers we've had yet," Browde said.
Now shelters across Maine are preparing to find these beagles forever homes.
"We will have no issues finding these beagles wonderful homes where they're cherished and where they have the life that they deserve to have," Roth said.
And for the first time, that life will include running outside, getting love on the couch, and lots and lots of treats.
When the beagles arrived Sunday morning they went off to the shelters for a vet check-up. Now they will have a two-week state-required quarantine with foster families before adoption. If you want one of these dogs you can contact the shelter in your area for more information. The nine shelters that got beagles are:
- Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland (Westbrook)
- Animal Welfare Society (Kennebunk)
- Franklin County Humane Society (Farmington)
- Greater Androscoggin Humane Society (Lewiston)
- Kennebec Valley Humane Society (Augusta)
- PAWS Animal Adoption Center (Camden)
- Pope Memorial Humane Society (Thomaston)
- Responsible Pet Care of Oxford Hills (South Paris)
- Tall Tails Beagle Rescue (Mechanic Falls)