HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — After 4,000 beagles were successfully removed from an Envigo-owned breeding facility in Cumberland County that was exposed for numerous animal welfare violations, finding homes for the newly freed dogs has become a primary concern for many animal activists and care providers.
The beagles have been made available for adoption in small batches from places like Richmond Animal Care and Control (RACC). Henrico County resident David Lane rescued his own Envigo beagle puppy from RACC. 8News visited the three-month-old puppy at Dorey Park Thursday.
“She’s a fighter.” Lane said.
The proud owner smiled as he watched his puppy, CiCi — as in, Captain Cuddles — run around the dog park.
Escaping the Envigo breeding facility was just the beginning of several challenges hurled at the beagle puppy.
Within weeks of the adoption, CiCi was diagnosed with Parvo, a potentially deadly virus. Lane and his girlfriend rushed the dog into the hands of animal care providers, who nursed her back to health, before the small dog overcame another obstacle.
“That’s why we call her a superhero, Captain Cuddles,” Lane said.
CiCi is finally living a healthy life as a member of a family. She enjoys running through grass, playing with other animals and cuddling with her new parents.
Lane told 8News that Cici’s journey from the breeding facility to a Henrico home has been a surprisingly smooth one.
Animal care experts warn owners that dogs who have experienced tumultuous relationships with humans often exhibit traits of fear, mistrust and anxiety.
Fortunately, CiCi was freed from the harmful environment of the Cumberland breeding facility during her formative years, as a newborn puppy. Many older dogs who spent a larger portion of their lives inside Envigo cages could have a more difficult time adjusting to life as pets.
“She hasn’t showed any signs of trauma or anything like that,” Lane said.
According to Lane, CiCi’s attribution as a “superhero” comes from more than one source. While she did overcome many obstacles already, Lane said she’s also helped many dogs in need, whether she knows it or not.
Lane’s experience with CiCi inspired him to use his nonprofit, Geek Wellness Education, to team up with other organizations to help provide food and resources to homeless dogs.
“She’s going to keep helping people, helping dogs, and we’re going to keep having fun,” Lane said. “She’s part of the family now and we love her to death.”
More Envigo beagles will be made available for adoption. Intake updates can be found on the RACC’s Facebook.