RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – A national animal welfare group filed state complaints against the Envigo research and dog breedingg plant in Cumberland. One of those complaints aims to end the breeding operation in the facility.
Call it a “historic case of animal abuse” SAEN, stop animal exploitation now, calls on the US Department of Agriculture to revoke Envigo’s breeder license. The move follows a damning inspection report citing the facility for dozens of animal welfare violations and puppy deaths.
“These violations are unprecedented,” said Michael Budkie, SAEN co-founder.
Budkie is a 35 year veteran in animal research like at Envigo. He also has a degree in animal health technology. He says the recent violations at Envigo are unlike any other he has been investigated against. He said, “I personally have been looking at inspection reports for decades. I can tell you that these inspection reports for Envigo, for this animal breeding facility, are probably among the five worst I’ve seen. “
USDA inspection reports released last week from a July visit showed sick animals left untreated, lactating dogs deprived of food, and “large accumulations of feces, urine, stagnant water, insects and uneaten food under the raised indoor and outdoor pen floors ”.
Perhaps the most disturbing report found that “300 puppy deaths are due to unknown causes”.
“The Envigo staff didn’t realize that these pups were lying dead in the enclosure until they started to rot,” said Budkie.
The Ohio-based nonprofit has fired two lawsuits against the federal regulator, one against the Envigo farm. the other against the Envigo research laboratory. In their letters to the USDA, the group calls this July inspection an “amazingly horrific inspection.”
SAEN also writes that Envigo “should never be allowed to interact with animals”. The group calls on the USDA not only to revoke Envigo’s breeder license, but also to set the maximum possible fine per violation / per animal.
“We are asking for a fine of over $ 17 million,” said Budkie.
Envigo, which breeds and houses thousands of beagles for medical research, has told 8News that they have “taken and are continuing to take the necessary corrective actions for all of the issues described in the reports.” The breeder also said in a statement to 8News that he is “committed to ensuring that every sick animal receives the proper care it deserves”.
Two state senators are working on legislation for more oversight at Envigo and a plan to find new homes for about 400 of their Beagles forever. Senator Bill Stanley is still working on the adoption details.