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A Company Breeding Beagles For Medical Research Was Fined A Record $35 Million For Severe Neglect And Violations Of Animal Welfare Laws

Kate - stock.adobe.com - illustrative purposes only, not the actual dog

Recent headlines have shed light on a troubling case of animal cruelty involving a company that bred beagles for medical research and was subsequently fined for severe neglect and violations of animal welfare laws.

The company pled guilty to neglecting thousands of dogs and agreed to pay $35 million as part of the plea deal. Prosecutors say that the penalties represent the largest fines ever imposed in a case related to animal welfare.

Envigo RMS, the company that operated the breeding facility in rural Virginia where the neglect took place, is also prohibited from breeding or selling dogs in the future.

When federal authorities conducted an investigation of the facility in Cumberland County, Virginia, they discovered nearly 450 animals in acute distress.

In total, there were 4,000 beagles at the facility. The company agreed to hand them all over, and they were sent for adoption around the country.

Between 2019 and 2022, the company earned $16 million in revenue through the sale of 15,000 beagles. According to Christopher Kavanaugh, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia, Envigo “prioritized profits and convenience over following the law.” His office prosecuted the case.

The company did not provide the dogs with proper care or safe and sanitary living conditions. It is required for cages to be cleaned every day, but they were only cleaned twice per month. Dogs were also euthanized without sedation by direct injections to the heart.

The dogs regularly got hurt by catching their paws on metal grates that made up the flooring. The grates left wide spaces that allowed their paws to fall through easily. Furthermore, the animals were not given enough food and water. When they did receive sustenance, it was unclean.

A press release from the U.S. Department of Justice noted that Envigo violated the Clean Water Act and the Animal Welfare Act.

Kate – stock.adobe.com – illustrative purposes only, not the actual dog

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