Dog Breeding Facility Fined a Record $35 Million for Animal Cruelty Against 4,000 Beagles · The Wildest

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Dog Breeding Facility Fined a Record $35 Million for Animal Cruelty Against 4,000 Beagles

Inotiv, the parent company of Envigo, will pay the largest ever fine issued under the Animal Welfare Act.

by Sio Hornbuckle
June 4, 2024
Beagle dog being carried by woman in lab coat.
Courtesy of the HSUS

In 2022, over 4,000 Beagles were rescued from an Envigo facility in Cumberland, Virginia after the breeding site received numerous violations from the United States Department of Agriculture. The Beagles were found underfed, wounded, and destined for gruesome ends in testing facilities — but with the help of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), many of the rescued dogs were able to thrive and find homes. Monday, Inotiv, the parent company of the medical research company Envigo, agreed to pay $35 million for their horrific breeding operations — the largest ever fine in an animal welfare case.

The investigation 

The U.S. Justice Department, along with the HSUS, removed over 4,000 Beagles from Envigo’s facility in July of 2022. Envigo was raising the dogs to be sold to testing facilities, where the Beagles would have eventually been tortured by high doses of toxic substances. Most would have been killed at the end of the testing or as a result of the drugs, reported the HSUS. It’s common for Beagles to be chosen for animal testing because of their calm temperaments — according to the USDA, 60,000 Beagles are victims of experimental testing each year

At Envigo’s breeding facility, where the dogs were bred and kept before being sold to labs, the conditions were just as dire. The Department of Agriculture found many instances of animal cruelty at the site. “They noted things like 25 puppies who died of cold exposure at the facility in the past, maggots that were in dog food, and animals with medical conditions that should have received treatment [but did not],” said Lindsay Hamrick, the director of shelter outreach and engagement for the Humane Society. Dogs were euthanized without sedation, drinking water was filthy, and cages were infrequently cleaned, reported AP News.

A federal judge approved a plan for the dogs to be rescued, and the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) intervened with help from the HSUS. After the rescue was highly publicized, thousands of applications for fostering and adopting the Beagles came in, and the pups were placed in loving homes

The plea agreement

The $35 million fine was the result of a guilty plea for knowingly violating the Animal Welfare Act, as well as the Clean Water Act. Eleven million dollars in fines resulted from violating the Animal Welfare Act — which is the largest ever fine issued in the act’s history.

Inotiv will also pay another $11 million for violating the Clean Water Act by sending untreated wastewater into the local waterways. Additionally, Inotiv will pay fines to several environmental and animal welfare organizations, including $1.1 million to the Virginia Animal Fighting Task Force, $3.5 million to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and $1.9 million to the HSUS, reports the DOD. The company will also be barred from breeding or selling dogs in the future.

Sio Hornbuckle

Sio Hornbuckle is a writer living in New York City with their cat, Toni Collette.

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