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Over $35 million fine levied against a beagle breeder in a landmark Animal Welfare Act case

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The parent corporation of a Virginia facility that raised beagles for drug testing was ordered to pay more than $35 million in fines in a landmark decision. This is the biggest fine ever imposed in an Animal Welfare Act case. Prosecutors found flagrant infractions at the facility, which led to the imposition of the penalty.

After Envigo RMS, a subsidiary of Inotiv, entered a guilty plea to willfully conspiring to violate the Animal Welfare Act, the corporation came under intense scrutiny. Regarding the beagle breeding activities in Cumberland County, Virginia, another subsidiary, Envigo Global Services Inc., entered a guilty plea to a felony conspiracy to violate the Clean Water Act. US Attorney Christopher Kavanaugh of the Western District of Virginia made the news on Monday.

Examining and Performing Rescue Procedures:

Approximately 4,000 beagles were rescued from the facility in 2022 as a result of an investigation. The adoption of these animals was made possible in large part by the efforts of the Humane Society of the United States. Nine months of inspections resulted in the documentation of over 70 infractions of animal welfare, including:

  • practices of inhumane euthanasia that result in needless agony and misery.
  • Poor veterinary treatment.
  • Not adhering to fundamental requirements for cleaning, watering, feeding, handling, and housing.

During the examination, some 450 beagles were discovered to be in “acute distress”. Untreated effluent was also released into nearby rivers as a result of the facility’s poor management.

Incompetence in Leadership:

Although they were aware of the infractions since at least July 2021, Envigo’s leadership put profits ahead of compliance. The facility’s upkeep was expected to cost $8 million, a request that business leadership has consistently disregarded. In a study of mortality records, the US Department of Agriculture found that between January 1, 2001, and July 22, 2021, there were over 300 puppy fatalities that were not explained.

Official Remarks:

Attorney General Jason Miyares of Virginia said, “Envigo’s violations of the Clean Water Act and the Animal Welfare Act directly resulted in the contamination of local waterways, negatively impacting community health and causing the suffering of over 4,000 beagles.”

Vice president of the Animal Rescue Team at the Humane Society of the United States, Adam Parascandola, reminisced about the initial efforts at rescue: “Our team helped assess the thousands of dogs in the facility as we assisted with the search warrant for several long and hot days.” The DOJ asking us to return and rescue the remaining dogs was a huge relief and an honor for all of us.

By connecting the beagles with more than 120 shelter and rescue organizations, the Humane Society was able to find the pups loving homes.

This landmark case emphasizes how crucial it is to uphold animal welfare rules strictly and how constant watchfulness is required to stop such cruel actions.

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