CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) – Federal officials have charged the parent company of a Virginia medical research dog breeding facility with violating animal welfare law and seized 145 beagles from the Cumberland Institution who were deemed to be in ‘acute distress’. as defined in the lawsuit as any animal in need of “immediate veterinary treatment or other care for the prompt relief of life-threatening illness, injury or suffering.”
After more than two years of 8News coverage of the Envigo RMS, LLC dog-breeding facility in Cumberland County, federal prosecutors filed a civil lawsuit against the company, in the form of a 40-page document on Thursday, May 19.
According to court documents, Envigo “has failed to take the necessary steps to ensure that all beagles at its facility receive humane care and treatment and that the Cumberland facility is operating in accordance with the AWA.” [Animal Welfare Act].”
Below is a copy of the last inspection report.
In less than a year, the Cumberland Envigo facility received more than 60 citations for non-compliance with the AWA. More than half of the citations are considered the most serious type of violation, having a “serious or severe adverse effect on the health and welfare of the animal[s].”
The state of the dog’s environment, and therefore its health, was exposed in previous 8News report, recounting dogs living in excessive heat for hours, with temperatures ranging from 85 to 92 degrees in several rooms where the dogs were kept. In a videoa dog nursing puppies could be seen desperately trying to access food through her crate, while other images show dogs with rotting teeth, bruises and abrasions as well as water troughs full of excrement.
Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin enacted five “Beagle Bills” in early April, in an effort to ensure animals are protected under Virginia’s animal cruelty laws. The new laws have clarified the inclusion of animals bred and sold for experimental purposes in these protections and given authorities the ability to take action in the event of violations.
According to the lawsuit filed Thursday by the government, rather than spend money to meet the AWA’s minimum standards, Envigo employed a small number of employees and chose to “euthanize the beagles or let the beagles die.” of malnutrition, treatable and preventable conditions and injuries resulting from beagles being housed in overcrowded and unsanitary enclosures or in enclosures containing incompatible animals”.
For full coverage of 8News Envigo, Click here.