Federal judge issues order against research dog-breeding facility

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A federal judge has issued an emergency order imposing a series of restrictions on a dog-breeding facility in Virginia owned by an Indianapolis-based company after regulators said the site was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of beagle puppies.

The restraining order issued Saturday comes after federal officials accused the Envigo RMS facility in Cumberland County of a series of animal-welfare violations in a complaint filed Thursday. Officials seized nearly 150 beagles from the site.

Envigo, headquartered in Indianapolis, breeds beagles for medical research at the Cumberland facility. It has housed up to 5,000 beagles in the last year.

U.S. District Judge Norman Moon said the evidence from federal inspections shows more than 300 beagle puppies have died there over the last seven months of unknown causes. He also said in his order that nursing beagles were denied adequate food, and puppies were euthanized without anesthesia.

The company issued a statement Saturday denying the allegations and saying “animal welfare is a core value of our company.”

Envigo was also the subject of an undercover investigation last year by the Norfolk-based animal-rights group PETA that found similar mistreatment.

Envigo was founded in 2015 through the merger of Indianapolis-based Harlan Laboratories Inc. and United Kingdom-based Huntingdon Life Sciences. Harlan, founded in 1931, was one of the world’s largest suppliers of laboratory animals, with facilities throughout the world.

West Lafayette, Indiana-based contract research company Inotiv Inc. acquired Envigo in November for about $545 million in a cash-and-stock deal.

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