A Happily Ever After for 4,000 Beagles Bred For Research

Nevena Nacic
by Nevena Nacic
Przemek Iciak

Nearly a year has passed since 4,000 beagles that had been living in horrific conditions were rescued from the Envigo breeding and research facility in Cumberland, Virginia. In addition to underfed, injured, and ill dogs, the inspections of the research facility also discovered that some dogs had been euthanized. 

Now, almost a year later, all rescued beagles are living life to the fullest in their new furever homes. 

Getting a two-year-old beagle, named Fin, out of the facility marked the end of a nearly two-month-long rescue operation that saved the lives of 4,000 dogs. “He was the last one. I can’t imagine what that must’ve felt like for him,” said Suzanne Brown-Pelletier, who adopted Fin a few weeks after he was rescued. 

To make up for everything he missed, “ I give him all kinds of kisses on the nose and tell him I’m playing the beagle bugle,” she said. 

Fin, who now goes under a new name - Sir Biscuit or Barkingham (or just Biscuit) - and thousands of other beagles were relocated to rescue organizations, shelters, adoptive families, and foster owners nationwide after federal officials discovered that the breeding facility had violated the Animal Welfare Act.

The effort to find homes for hungry, mistreated, and sick dogs drew nationwide attention. The news of these dogs even inspired Meghan and Harry, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, to adopt a seven-year-old beagle named Mamma Mia. The couple decided to adopt Mia because they preferred to help an older dog, which are typically harder to rehome. 

Alli and Tyler Trent from Christiansburg, Virginia, also opened their home to an Envigo survivor. After they adopted a beagle named Maple, she shook uncontrollably every time she stepped into the family’s backyard. Having spent her entire life in a cage, Maple hasn’t seen grass or eaten a treat before. 

“The grass was very scary for her,” said Alli Trent according to The Buffalo News. Maple also flinched in fear whenever someone approached her. “Nothing was easy,” Alli recalled, “but she just needed some extra patience and time. She’s learning to trust and she’s learning that the only people in her life now are good people that love her so much.”

The Trents’ other beagle, Lola, helped Maple adjust to her new life and also provided emotional support. The couple and their dogs attended a gathering in Wake Forest, North Carolina, to mark the anniversary of the beagles’ rescue. There, Maple has a chance to spend time with some of her puppies, which are now larger than her and living their best lives in new homes. 

Sir Biscuit adjusted to his new life outside the cage in North Yarmouth, Maine, thanks to Brown-Pelletier’s two other dogs, Albert and Winston. When Biscuit first arrived at his furever home, he was drooling from anxiety and lying flat on the floor out of fear. 

Brown-Pelletier noted that Biscuit lifted his paws with interest as he came into contact with new textures around the house. “His little paws had never touched anything other than a metal cage,” she said. 

Biscuit is the first dog Suzanne rescued, and she’s certain he thanks her for it every day with his big and luminous brown eyes. “I am telling you it is the way to go,” she said.

Nevena Nacic
Nevena Nacic

Nevena is a freelance writer and a proud mom of Teo, a 17-year-old poodle, and Bob, a rescued grey tabby cat. Since childhood, she had a habit of picking up strays and bringing them home (luckily, her parents didn't know how to say NO). When she's not writing for her fellow pet parents, Nevena can be found watching Teo sleep. To her defense, that's not as creepy as it sounds!

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