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Beagle Freedom: Over 100 Beagles Rescued from Animal Testing Lab

Beagle Freedom: Over 100 Beagles Rescued from Animal Testing Lab

By Jo Singer | July 9, 2010 10:00 AM

I don't think I'll ever forget the tragic story about Oreo, a young pit-bull mix who was purposefully thrown off the roof of a Bronx, NY, six-story building by her abusive owner.

What compounded the tragedy was that after ASPCA veterinarians performed extensive surgery in an attempt to save her life, the ASPCA refused to turn her over their "miracle dog" to an experienced no-kill shelter.

Their evaluation found that Oreo was far too vicious ever to be considered a trusted family pet.

While a generous, unconditional offer was made by Pets Alive, a no-kill sanctuary located in Middletown, New York--about a 90 minute drive from ASPCA headquarters in Manhattan--to rescue Oreo, Ed Sayers, the President of the ASPCA, refused to even take the time to visit the sanctuary. And Pets Alive's phone calls were not returned.

The determination made by the ASPCA that Oreo's aggressive behavior was beyond rehabilitation prompted me to call Pets Alive to inquire if in fact there were dogs that were incapable of retraining. In speaking with Matt DeAngelis, Pets Alive's Executive Co- Director, his comment, "All animals deserve a chance to be saved," deeply resonated within my heart.

Pets Alive has become one of my favorite sanctuary facilities.

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Last weekend, I received the Pets Alive Newsletter announcing their exciting event, "Beagle Mania," held on Friday, July 2. Working together with Best Friends Animal Society and the New Jersey- based animal rights group, Win Animal Rights, 120 beagles were saved following the closing of AniClin, a bankrupted animal testing laboratory.

Since Beagles, with their calm and gentle behavior are frequently used in testing labs, had AniClin laboratory not closed, these delightful dogs would have been destined to spend the rest of their lives locked up in small cages, receiving little human contact. Used for a variety of tests, once they were no longer viable for testing purposes, these unfortunate animals would have been forsaken.

Pets Alive learned that AniClin had gone out of business, leaving the premises and locking their doors with 120 beagles and 55 primates remaining inside.

In order to take care of the abandoned animals, their previous caretakers climbed the fences in order to get in; but they needed help. In a stunning chain of events, Win Animal Rights jumped in and contacted Best Friends, who in turn reached out to Pets Alive asking if they could be of assistance. What a question! Of course Pets Alive was on it.

Since the previous owner had filed a court motion to prevent the dogs from being "given away for free," so they could sell the dogs to another laboratory, Pets Alive was delayed in taking the dogs for several days. They used the time to set up fencing and prepare a reception area, hiring extra staff and lining up volunteers. On Wednesday, June 30, happily a judge ruled in their favor, which enabled Pets Alive to go "fetch" the dogs.

With their six vans and truckloads of crates and staff to help load the beagles, it was indeed a very long day for Pets Alive staff and volunteers.


But with the assistance of Best Friends' staff and W.A.R.'s personnel, all the beagles arrived safely. Dozens of volunteers were waiting to lend a hand, and had decorated the entire facility in red, white and blue. This decor marked a true "Independence Day" for the 120 beagles. St. Hubert's Animal Shelter took 30 of the dogs for veterinary attention, some tender loving care and ultimately, forever homes.

But the brightest and most emotional part of the entire day for everyone, was to actually watch these dogs, who for the first time in their lives, were able to put their paws on the grass and see the sunlight. I can only imagine the joy and relief the folks involved in this momentous rescue experienced.

I spoke with Matt DeAngelis again yesterday for an update on the Beagles and am assured they are being given the best of care. It's so hot in Middletown this week that Pets Alive is keeping the Beagles in a huge tent with air conditioning.

This rescue story sure brought me to tears of happiness. What was your reaction? Leave a comment and share.

Photos via Molly Wald/ Best Friends

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