Virginia Sen. Mark Warner said Envigo, a Cumberland County company that runs a facility breeding dogs for research, should be held accountable “to the full extent of the law” for what a federal judge called “torturous abuse.”
More than 446 beagles have already been seized from the research facility. In a May lawsuit, federal prosecutors in Virginia said agents initially recovered 145 dogs that were in “acute distress.”
“There’s close to another 3,600 dogs that are still in their custody,” Warner said during a call with reporters on Wednesday. “We need to get to the bottom of this, and make sure the dogs, many of them puppies, are kept safe.”
In a joint filing, prosecutors and Envigo said they are working toward a settlement, “which will include non-governmental organizations and other third parties,” which will likely include animal welfare groups.
In an earlier ruling, Judge Norman Moon of the Western District of Virginia ordered Envigo to “immediately cease breeding, selling or otherwise dealing in beagles at the Cumberland facility, until in full compliance” with his order.
Moon had detailed a long list of corrective actions, after allegations that dogs were maltreated and malnourished without proper veterinary care.
“Envigo is a bad actor,” Warner said. “They have had more than 70 different incidents of mistreating these puppies — most of them were used for experimentation.”
Approximately “450 of those pups have been rescued, and hopefully are going on the path toward getting the kind of home and love they deserve,” said Warner. “I can’t imagine a puppy enduring the kind of awful treatment that’s gone on at this facility.”
The joint filing asked the judge to extend the temporary restraining order until June 13.