News - Kane County

Blackberry Twp. animal activists’ drone documented inhumane conditions for beagles in Virginia

Enoch: ‘SHARK is glad our five years of work ultimately resulted in the shutdown of Envigo’

Inhumane conditions of beagles at the Envigo breeding facility in Virginia were exposed by an animal advocacy group SHARK, based in Blackberry Township. The group used a drone to document the conditions, ultimately leading to Envigo’s closure and the rescue of 4,000 beagles.

BLACKBERRY TOWNSHIP – The rescue of about 4,000 beagles last month from Envigo, a breeding facility in Virginia, actually began in 2017 through the efforts of SHARK, a local animal advocacy group based in Blackberry Township.

U.S. Department of Agriculture officials found violations of the Animal Welfare Act, with dogs being ill, injured, underfed and some dogs dead.

The Humane Society of the United States, which facilitated the rescue, reached out to Anderson Humane in St. Charles Township and the rescue is working to set up foster care for the beagles.

“SHARK started this rescue and the closing of Envigo by exposing – with one of our drones – the facility’s Animal Welfare Act violations when it was owned by Covance/LabCorp back in 2017,” Janet Enoch said in an email.

Enoch is a humane investigator with SHARK, SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness.

The group also has been instrumental in closing down dog fighting and cock fighting rings – as well as the raising of roosters for fighting – and exposing animal cruelty at rodeos and hunts.

Using a drone, SHARK documented inhumane conditions of the beagles, which Envigo bred and raised for lab testing, Enoch’s email said.

“We continued to document this cruel facility for years, prompting Virginia legislators to pass five bills to help these dogs and leading to the closure of this facility for their continued violations of the Animal Welfare Act,” Enoch said in an email.

Drone footage from SHARK, an animal advocacy group in Blackberry Township, of Envigo RMS in Virginia, documenting the beagle breading facility. Some 4,000 beagles were rescued from inhumane conditions at the facility.

“SHARK is glad our five years of work ultimately resulted in the shutdown of Envigo and the release of these beagles from the terrible conditions they were forced to endure before being subjected to horrific experimentation and a brutal death,” Enoch’s email said.

A U.S. Department of Justice news release said Envigo RMS – without admitting wrongdoing – entered into a consent decree July 15 with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia.

The company “agreed to a permanent prohibition on engaging in any activity at its facility in Cumberland, Virginia, that requires an Animal Welfare Act license.”

“Envigo RMS has also agreed to relinquish all remaining beagles at the Cumberland facility to the Humane Society of the United States,” the release said. “In May, the United States filed suit against Envigo RMS, alleging that the company was failing to provide humane care and treatment to the thousands of beagles at the company’s Cumberland facility.”

Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division said in the release that the “settlement brings to an end the needless suffering caused by Envigo’s blatant violations of animal welfare laws at this facility.”

“We will continue to vigorously enforce animal welfare laws to ensure that animals are provided the humane care that they are legally owed and deserve,” Kim said in the release.

LabCorp’s Covance Drug Development subsidiary acquired Envigo’s nonclinical contract research services business in 2019, according to a news release from Envigo.

The company announced in another release Nov. 4, 2021, that Inotiv Inc. had acquired Envigo RMS Holding Corp.

According to the release, the combined company will remain under the leadership of Robert Leasure, Jr. as president and CEO.

An email message to Leasure seeking comment was not immediately returned.

More information about SHARK is available online at www.sharkonline.org.