Warner & Kaine Applaud Plans to Allow Adoption of Nearly Four Thousand Dogs from Envigo Breeding Facility in Cumberland
~ Move comes after months of public & private advocacy by the Senators~
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) released the statement below, celebrating a joint plan between the Department of Justice and Envigo RMS LLC. to facilitate the surrender of nearly four thousand dogs from an Envigo breeding facility in Cumberland, Va., which has been repeatedly cited for egregious animal welfare violations. Under the agreement, ownership and physical custody of the dogs will be transferred to the Humane Society of the Unites States (HSUS), which will work to place these dogs into homes. This transfer is the result of a warrant and subsequent lawsuit filed by federal authorities after Sens. Warner and Kaine shed light on the issue and demanded federal action. After a preliminary injunction against the facility was issued in the Western District of Virginia, Envigo and its parent company agreed to close the facility permanently, meaning that soon no more dogs will be made to suffer in the horrific conditions at the Cumberland, Virginia site.
“After months of advocacy, we’re heartened to know that nearly 4,000 Envigo dogs will be spared a lifetime of suffering and will instead head to loving homes. We’re also pleased to know that Inotiv – Envigo’s parent company – will shutter its Cumberland facility and that no more dogs will be subject to the appalling conditions and inexcusable distress endured by so many dogs and puppies at the facility. We will continue working in the Senate to prevent the mistreatment of innocent animals across Virginia and the nation,” said the Senators.
In March, Sens. Warner and Kaine expressed horror and demanded immediate and aggressive action by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) following more than 70 animal welfare violations at the Envigo breeding and research facility in Cumberland. After these calls for action, the federal government stepped in, seizing 446 beagles in acute distress and placing a Temporary Restraining Order to prevent the breeding, sale, or otherwise dealing of beagles at the Cumberland facility.
Sen. Warner, a dog owner, has been an advocate for dogs in Virginia and throughout the country, earning a 100% on the Humane Society of the United States’ Humane Scorecard for 2021. In March, Sen. Warner secured the passage of new language requiring the Department of State to report on the status of dogs in the Explosive Detection Canine Program (EDCP). This program came under scrutiny in 2019 after an Inspector General (IG) report found that the Department failed to conduct proper follow-up after sending highly-trained dogs to foreign partner nations, resulting in the death of at least ten dogs from largely preventable illnesses.
Sens. Warner and Kaine have been consistent cosponsors of the Puppy Protection Act, which would amend the Animal Welfare Act to include additional care and safety standards for dog breeders like Envigo. Under the bill, breeders would be required to house dogs in appropriately sized enclosures with solid ground and keep them on a regular diet and exercise routine. As Governor of Virginia, Kaine signed a law that imposed stricter legal penalties for dogfighting offenses.