VIRGINIA (WFXR) The 4,000 beagles, that were once bound for animal testing labs, got a new leash on life last year, and they’re taking full advantage.

Concerns for the dogs at a Cumberland area breeding facility were raised after a non-profit’s video went viral in June of 2019, just a month before Envigo would acquire the facility. That video showed hundreds of dogs packed into kennels, howling, barking, fighting and even standing in their own feces.

Then a video released by PETA in November of 2021 showed a film that had been allegedly taken from inside that same facility – showing even more issues. The video showed sick, hurt, and dying dogs, as well as a staffer admitting to denying food.

“This week they did not get fed. If too many people know it, it’s going to get out that’s what we are doing and it’s going to get bad,” said the staff member.

After several investigations, animal welfare complaints, and animal seizures, the facility announced its closure in June 2022. Then the process of evaluating, transporting, and getting more than four thousand dogs adopted began.

Many landed in the Commonwealth to find their forever homes. Others ended up elsewhere.
But they all had one thing in common, they had a big learning curve ahead of them.

“They’ve had a life of not very much human interaction and so we’ve already seen them bring a little bit of happiness here with their little play groups and just human interaction and they’ve come out of their shell a little bit,” Jill Mollohan, executive director of the humane society of Lynchburg previously said.

A year later, the beagles have started to adapt.

“I remember how timid they were, they were unsure what to do. To walk around and to see them today running and playing and interacting with one another and so much love from the families that adopted them is just really incredible,” said Sarah Javier, President Animal Protection Association.

Fifty of those dogs ended up at the APA Adoption Center in Saint Louis, Missouri, where they celebrated their so-called “Gotcha-versery”. One family says from shy beginnings, their beagle has got quite the personality.

“Birdie couldn’t be any sweeter. She’s very loving and sweet but she also can hold a grudge,” said Sarah-kate Sullivan, Birdie’s mom.

Sullivan explained that Birdie used to army crawl when called, but has since gotten used to the feeling of the ground and floor. After a year, she says the family couldn’t imagine a world without their furry friend.

“We just waited until they were here. We couldn’t wait, we were excited. Wanted to be a part of something. Beagles have just kind of made our family whole,” said Sullivan.

The Humane Society of the United States is pushing Congress to take steps to eliminate animal testing overall or, at the very least, cut back to limit the need for these types of breeding facilities.