Beagle breeder Envigo pleads guilty to record number of penalties for animal cruelty and $35 million fine

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On Monday, Envigo RMS LLC pleaded guilty to conspiring to knowingly violate the Animal Welfare Act, and Envigo Global Services Inc. pleaded guilty to a felony of conspiring to knowingly violate the Clean Water Act. Both pleas are in relation to a dog breeding facility located in Cumberland County, Virginia, from which the Justice Department secured the surrender of over 4,000 beagles in 2022.

The Virginia company, which bred dogs for research will pay $35 million after 4,000 beagles were rescued from its facilities at its Cumberland facility in May 2022. The dogs had been living in unsanitary conditions, animals had been euthanized without anesthesia and nursing dogs had starved and were poorly nourished.

During an extensive investigation with a federal and a PETA investigation, more than 350 puppies died at the facility attributed to unknown causes. More than 400 dogs were seized in June 2022. The beagles were bred in the Envigo facility to be sold for use in pharmaceutical and biotech research.

During an extensive investigation with a federal and a PETA investigation, more than 350 puppies died at the facility attributed to unknown causes. More than 400 dogs were seized in June. The beagles were bred in the Envigo facility to be sold for use in pharmaceutical and biotech research.

SOME PUPPIES HAD BEEN INADVERTENTLY CRUSHED TO DEATH BY THEIR MOTHERS INSIDE THE CRAMPED CAGES, WHILE OTHERS SUFFERED FROM HYDROCEPHALUS, WERE EVISCERATED, OR JUST COULDN’T SURVIVE THE HARSH CONDITIONS.

Peta

Volunteers and staff from the Humane Society of the United States’ Animal Rescue Team removed the dogs from the facilities and assessed the thousands of animals needing to be helped.

The company issued the following statement:

in committing the crimes identified in the charging document, and by not making the necessary infrastructure upgrades and hiring the requisite staff, we fell short of out standards for animal and environmental welfare and apologize to the public for the harm caused by our conduct.

Inotiv

Inotiv listed their penalties on their website, adding it hoped other facilities would learn from their experience.

The fine of $35 million is the largest ever animal welfare penalty in the United States. The DOJ stated Envigo in Cumberland had too many dogs living there and insufficient veterinary care.

Envigo promoted a business culture that prioritized profit and convenience over following the law. This callous approach led to dire consequences; the inhumane treatment of animals and the contamination of our waterway.

U.S. Attorney Christopher Kavanaugh

The $35 million penalty will be broken into payments as follows:

$11 million for each criminal violation

$1.1 million for the Virginia Animal Fighting Task Force

$3.5 million to help restore the environment in Cumberland County

$1.9 million to the HSUS for its help in the investigation and care of the dogs.

Check out the video:

Read prior coverage of this huge story about animal welfare here.

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