Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Beagles rescued from research lab

Watch Freedom and Bigsby's first-ever romp in the sunshine (tear-jerk warning in full effect):

Shannon Keith, a Los Angeles attorney and founder of the nonprofit animal advocacy group, Animal Rescue, Media & Education (ARME), received a call in December tipping her off to news that some beagles were being retired from a research lab. These dogs, bred exclusively for animal testing, had lived in the lab nearly their entire lives had never felt the rays of the sun or grass under their feet.

Shannon Keith, Beagle Freedom Project founder, with Freedom and Bigsy.
Keith gathered a few of her friends and came to the aid of the two young dogs, who they named Freedom (1 1/2) and Bigsby (2 1/2), and the Beagle Freedom Project was born. The organization is dedicated to rescuing and finding homes for beagles used in laboratory research. It hopes to encourage more research labs to release their animals and give these potentially adoptable pets a chance at life, rather than needlessly destroying them.

Beagles are the most popular breed for testing pharmaceuticals, household products and cosmetics because of their friendly, docile, trusting, forgiving and people-pleasing personalities. The research industry says they adapt well to living in a cage and are inexpensive to feed. Research beagles are usually obtained directly from commercial breeders who specifically breed dogs to sell (for a pretty penny) to scientific institutions.

When the dogs are no longer wanted for research purposes, many labs simply kill those that have survived (depending on the nature of the experiments). But some attempt to give them a chance at a normal life by finding homes for those dogs that are deemed adoptable and healthy.

In the case of Freedom and Bigsby, the holidays were approaching and labs typically kill their animals just before the end of December since no one wants to stay and care for them. "Not only is this a horrific practice, but is also wasteful in so many ways," says Keith. "Often the experiments that these dogs were subjected to have not concluded, and the new batch coming in will need to start from scratch."

Working directly with labs, the Beagle Freedom Project is able to remove the retired beagles so they can be placed in loving homes. All rescues are done legally with the cooperation of the facility.

Freedom was recently adopted and lives in Glendale, California. Bigsby is being fostered in Studio City, but is still looking for his forever home. The same lab where they came from recently informed Keith that more beagles will soon be retired.

If you are interested in fostering or adopting a lab beagle, be aware that they come with some unique challenges. They will not be accustomed to life in a home and will not have experience with children, cats or other dogs. They will not be house-trained and accidents will happen (although they will learn quickly). Many have gone directly from a commercial breeder to the lab, and have never felt grass under their feet or even seen the sun. They will have been fed a special diet formulated for lab animals and may have difficulty adjusting to new foods. They will be unfamiliar with treats, toys, bedding and may never have walked on a leash. They will have lived in cages with steel wire floors and may have inflamed or infected paws. They may be initially fearful of people and may have other phobias from a lifetime of complete confinement. They are likely to have been surgically "de-barked" by the breeder and have an ID number tattooed in their ear. Although these beagles are considered healthy, very little information is disclosed about their origin, medical history or what kind of testing they were used for.

With time, patience, play, companionship — and most of all, love — these dogs will embrace their new-found freedom and learn how to become dogs. Just watch the video. Their transformation is nothing short of amazing.

The Beagle Freedom Project needs volunteers, sponsors, fosters, adopters and donations. For more information and to get involved click here.

Please, PLEASE buy products that are labeled "cruelty free" and "not tested on animals." Just like so many tuna fish cans are now stamped with the "dolphin-safe" seal of approval, it's time we advocate for the beagle equivalent on household cleaners, cosmetics and common pharmaceuticals.

Hamadi, one of my favorite haircare brands, proclaims that its products are "Tested on actresses, never on animals." I like the sound of that.

Posted By: Amelia Glynn (Email, Facebook) | January 20 2011 at 03:50 PM

Here is a list from PETA of companies that don't test on animals. So sad that anyone is still doing this.

Peta list:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Minnesota Puppy Mills

Minnesota Puppy Mills Again Making National News

For more information about this press release, contact Mike Fry at 651-772-8983 Ext. 99

January 13 – Animal Ark, a Minnesota-Based animal welfare organization announces the creation of a new Facebook page at for the purpose of raising awareness of the need to regulate large-scale breeders of puppies and kittens in the land of 10,000 lakes. One of the first posts on the page was to a newly released short-form documentary about Kathy Bauck, a notorious puppy mill operator from Minnesota. Bauck has been convicted of multiple counts of animal cruelty and torture.

The 17-minute film includes graphic undercover video captured by the Companion Animal Protection Society, the producers of the documentary. It also features interviews with animal welfare advocates and one prosecutor whose efforts resulted in convictions for several counts against Bauck of cruelty and torture.

The most serious charges against Bauck included her performing her own Cesarean Sections on her dogs without anesthesia. In one compelling piece of video, a veterinarian from Bauck’s hometown recounts a conversation he had with Allan Bauck, Kathy’s husband. The veterinarian says, relating to the C-Sections “I asked, ‘in other words you just tie them down and take the puppies out?!’ Bauck responded, ‘Well, if I have to, ya.’”

Another post to the new Facebook page included photos of health certificates of puppies being sold in New York pet stores as recently as September of 2010. The documents list Kathy Bauck as the breeder for the puppies. (Copies attached)

In 2009 Bauck lost her USDA license following her most recent conviction for cruelty and torture, meaning that it is illegal for her to sell puppies commercially to pet stores.

Another post at is a link to a report by the USDA’s own Inspector General. The report is the result of an audit of the USDA’s inspection process. The report uncovered gaping holes in the agency’s inspection and enforcement practices.

Bauck is one of an estimated 400 large-scale commercial puppy mills in Minnesota. Surprisingly, the State of Minnesota provides for no regulation of these facilities. However, a bipartisan group of legislators are hoping to change that this year. Representatives Steve Smith (R) and John Benson (D) co-chaired a legislative workgroup that met with stakeholders over the summer for the purpose of preparing legislation to be introduced in 2011. will provide updates and alerts relating to these efforts.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Pets banned on Indian reservation

Reservation Pet Rescue Needed in Minnesota:

Reservation Pet Rescue Needed in Minnesota
Updated: Wednesday, 05 Jan 2011, 6:47 PM CST
Published : Tuesday, 04 Jan 2011, 9:23 PM CST

by Maury Glover / FOX 9 News

SISSETON WAHPETON, Minn. - You've probably never heard of the Sisseton Wahpeton Housing Authority, but a recent change on a reservation near the Minnesota South Dakota border has hundreds of pets -- including some right here in the Twin Cities -- in need of some loving homes.

There's nothing quite as cute as a brand new puppy. While Lilly, Nilly and Willie are trying to find their footing in their new surroundings, Lucy here is expecting some puppies of her own any day now

"We are all guessing when she will have them and how many there will be," said a caretaker.

All four were rescued from the Lake Traverse Indian Reservation near Sisseton, South Dakota after the public housing authority there banned all dogs.

The agency said there have been too many attacks and fights caused by the animals, and that all tenants must get rid of their pets by April 1.

"They are staked out on chains in little igloo houses, They don't live a very good life."

So far animal rescue groups like Paws for a Cause have removed almost 200 dogs from the reservation with 20 ending up here in the twin cities, and volunteers are heading down to pick up more this weekend.

"I just think there are so many dogs that need our help and the idea they would get shot or euthanized breaks my heart so anything i can do to help. I'm willing to do."

After breeding and training afghan hounds for most of her life, Cynthia Dunahay is making room for another dog in her home. And she hopes other animal lovers who hear what's going on will do the same.

"They need homes,” she said. “Good homes…and they appreciate it so much."

That ban by the housing authority includes cats too.

Of the 20 dogs brought to the cities a few weeks ago, all but five have been adopted. Paws for a Cause expects another 20 this weekend. If you'd like to adopt one, click