dogs

The Fairfax County Animal Shelter is helping with a mass rescue of more than 4,000 beagles from an Envigo breeding and research facility in Cumberland, Va. The U.S. Department of Agriculture found the facility to have several violations of federal regulations, with the animals being hungry, sick, and generally mistreated.

The Fairfax County Animal Shelter is planning to take in as many of these dogs as they can, to be placed along with the 200 other animals they are currently caring for. 

“My hope with these dogs is the hope with every animal that comes into our facility, and that’s really just to give them the second chance that they deserve,” said Reasa Currier, the director of the Fairfax County Animal Shelter. “A lot of the animals that come into our animal shelter, they end up here because of no fault of their own. They really just need the chance to have the loving family that they deserve.”

These beagles are being sent to shelters, foster homes, and rescues around the country after a federal judge approved a plan for their release, following requests by U.S. authorities and law enforcement agencies. Federal authorities had about 60 days after the judge’s order on July 5 to rehome the animals.

“Our staff is incredibly adept at responding to needs like this one. They’re highly trained, highly skilled professionals, so they have responded to the needs of having an influx of animals in the past,” said Currier. “We also have an entire network of trained fosters and volunteers, so we have the support of the community and that really enables us to be able to say yes to situations like this.”

The shelter currently has about 200 animals under their care, with about one-third in foster homes. The staff provides animals with medical care and behavioral support to help animals thrive at the shelter and with their new families. Animals can also stay at the shelter as long as they need; the shelter doesn’t euthanize to create space.

Summer is a busy time for the shelter, and the population is higher than it normally is. There are also many stray pets that the staff tries to return to their families, but it can be very difficult. Currier emphasized the importance of microchipping or putting collars on pets, including cats and other small animals.

One of the best ways to help the shelter is to adopt and spread the word so more people can connect with them. People are also welcome to volunteer to be dog walkers, small animal assistants, or on the clean team. As well, it is helpful to donate supplies or give money to the Friends of the Fairfax County Animal Shelter, who provide funds for the lifesaving medical care for shelter pets. 

The standard adoption process will apply to these beagles, and the shelter’s staff and volunteers are excited to get to know the individual dogs to place them with loving families. The shelter has same-day adoption and an open adoption process, which means that they try to make a match based on the needs of the family and the pets as individuals. 

“Even though all the dogs are beagles, they’re individuals. They’re going to have their own personalities and their own requirements and specialized needs. So we really try to make a match that’s good for the animal and good for the family,” said Currier. “We always have amazing pets here, and are just waiting for adopters to come by.”

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