Lifestyle & Human Interest

Virginia Animal Rescue Saves 400 Research Beagles and Helps Them Find Forever Homes


An animal rescue in Fairfax, Virginia, has taken on the monumental task of orchestrating the intake of 400 beagles so the dogs can experience loving forever homes instead of lives spent in research.

Envigo, a facility that breeds beagles for research, was left with hundreds of “surplus” beagles after the COVID-19 pandemic slowed down demand. It reached out to the Homeward Trails Animal Rescue to see if something could be worked out.

The result was great news for families looking to add one of the bouncy hounds to their repertoire.

“Yesterday Homeward Trails took part in the first phase of what was one of the most memorable and meaningful efforts of our 20-year rescue activities,” Homeward Trails Animal Rescue posted on Facebook on Feb. 12. “We successfully facilitated the transfer of 150 perfectly adorably young Beagles from a Virginia based breeding facility.

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“Homeward Trails has chosen to play the role of trusted partner, working in collaboration with the facility to secure a positive outcome for the dogs they can no longer use in their programs. We have already taken several dogs ourselves, all of whom have been adopted and will continue working with them in the coming weeks and months to take others. We are grateful to be able to offer adoptive homes to these dogs.”

The rescue didn’t have the space or resources to take on hundreds of dogs, but its executive director, Sue Bell, said the decision to head up the operation was a no-brainer.

“While certainly a monumental task, this is not something I had to think about for more than a second before agreeing,” Bell said in a statement, according to People. “It is truly an honor to be able to give these dogs the lives they deserve.

“I would love nothing more than to have 400 Beagles at our shelter, that is obviously not possible,” she said. “We have been lucky to have the amazing support of groups like the Kindness Ranch Animal Sanctuary in Wyoming, Priceless Pet Rescue in California, the Richmond SPCA, and other Virginia groups stepping up to take these dogs in.”

The rescue asked that people refrain from negatively commenting on the controversial source of these beagles as it has been able to form a partnership with Envigo that it said is in the best interest of the dogs. Without the rescue working with the facility, there is a chance that the extra dogs would have nowhere to go and would face either a lifetime of research or euthanasia.

“Homeward Trails Animal Rescue, and its founder Sue Bell, help find permanent homes across the country through a strong network and a true passion for animals,” Envigo said in a statement, according to People. “Her organization’s professionalism and principles go hand-in-hand with ours, and we are always confident that every animal they place will be in a loving and happy home.”

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The rescue’s page has been full of information and updates on their operations as they move large batches of beagles to shelters and organizations where they will be able to find new families.

“Last week in pouring rain we transferred another 155 BEAGLES!” Homeward Trails posted on Wednesday. “It was many hours of mud, rain, sloppy Beagle kisses. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. But we loved every minute of this special transfer.

“These amazing former breeding dogs made their journey both near and far to start their new lives. We still have a few at our Adoption Center still not spoken for and hope to have several more coming to us next week.

“To date, we have taken more than 360 Beagles from this facility and are so, so honored to play this role. These dogs will have the families we know they deserve.”

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