Rep. Dina Titus Leads Call for Feds to Confiscate Dogs From Notorious Breeding Facility

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Seven Members of Congress Sign Letter Urging Immediate Enforcement Action Against Envigo

For Immediate Release:
February 22, 2022

Contact:
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Las Vegas – Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.) and six other members of Congress are speaking out for thousands of beagles suffering at a massive facility operated by Envigo in Cumberland, Virginia, that breeds dogs for experimentation. The legislators have sent  a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) urging the agency to fulfil its legal obligations and confiscate the dogs at Envigo or suspend the facility’s license over its critical, direct, and repeat violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act. Reps. Julia Brownley (D-Calif.), Elaine G. Luria (D-Va.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Charlie Crist (D-Fla.), and Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.) also signed the letter.

Although the USDA cited Envigo—an Indiana-based $545 million company that sells dogs for experimentation all over the world—for 39 violations just between July and October 2021, it has failed to take meaningful action to protect the thousands of beagles who remain imprisoned at the facility.

“This lack of timely follow-through is not what Congress intended when it entrusted APHIS with investigating these violations of federal law,” wrote the representatives. “Please provide my office with … a complete explanation as to when APHIS will take these and other actions to render urgently needed aid to the roughly 5,000 dogs held at Envigo.”

Of the 39 violations Envigo was cited for between July and October 2021, 19 were direct or critical (having serious or severe adverse effects on the health and well-being of the animal) and 11 were repeat failures. Violations include these:

  • Only 17 staff members were employed to supply direct care to 5,000 dogs and puppies.
  • More than 300 puppies’ deaths were attributed to “unknown causes.”
  • One dead puppy was found eviscerated, and records showed that her kennelmates had “chewed on” her corpse.
  • Numerous dogs were denied care for “severe dental disease,” eye ailments, crusted and oozing sores on their paws, multiple skin lesions with “thickened” and “inflamed” tissue, and other wounds and conditions.
  • Three dogs had been killed in fights, and 71 others had been injured by dogs in adjacent kennels. Twenty-four dogs and puppies were missing, and nine dogs who had been injured when “body parts” were pulled through a kennel wall by other dogs and bitten, causing “physical harm and unnecessary pain,” were put down.
  • Thirteen mother dogs were denied food for 42 hours while nursing 78 puppies.
  • There were “old, dried, and moldy feces” in dog enclosures; up to six inches of feces piled in a gutter; one kennel with “at least nine or ten piles of feces”; and an “overpowering fecal odor” and a “strong sewage odor” in the facility.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information about PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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