JACKSONVILLE, Florida. – A Jacksonville-based animal rescue organization is currently participating in the largest dog rescue in US history.
Florida Urgent Rescue (FUR), which is based in Jacksonville, is one of more than 60 animal rescue organizations supporting the US Humane Society’s efforts to transport animals to safer shelters across the county where they can be put up for adoption.
FUR President Mike Merrill said 4,000 beagles had been seized by the Department of Justice.
“They haven’t all been taken down yet. That’s part of what’s happening as we speak,” Merrill said.
The organization uses large trucks to transport 60 dogs to safe locations in Wyoming, Tennessee and Jacksonville where they can be put up for adoption – 10 are heading to Wyoming, 45 are on their way to animal rescue in Tennessee and five arrive in Jacksonville.
“We don’t usually bring dogs to Florida, but in this case it’s one of those expectations. We’re bringing five. They’re all very poorly socialized. These dogs were never allowed to be dogs before. They spent their whole lives in cages,” Merrill said.
The beagles that were seized all come from the Envigo breeding facility in Virginia which sold dogs to various labs across the United States for experimentation.
A federal judge has approved a plan to transfer the dogs to shelters across the United States after the facility was accused of numerous animal welfare violations.
Usually, when the FUR participates in a rescue operation, the organization usually knows a lot of information about the animals they rescue… However, this time is different.
“We have no medical history on any of these dogs other than their vaccination status. These dogs don’t even have names. All they have is a digital ear tattoo,” said Merrill.
Lindsay Hamrick, director of shelter outreach for the US Humane Society, said the Justice Department documented the dogs at the breeding facility as either dying, sick or injured.
“Somewhere around 25 puppies died from exposure to cold within a few weeks. There were injuries on some of the dogs because they were housed in such close quarters so they could fight for food. food, for example. Then dogs that have health issues should have been treated at Envigo,” Hamrick said.
Although it is legal to breed dogs for research, animal welfare in the breeding facility must be up to par and provide satisfactory conditions.
“I’m not used to seeing a large-scale operation like this that is meant to make a profit. That’s the only reason those dogs were there. The only reason they were bred was for profit so they could be sold for research experiments,” Merrill said.
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