CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The Envigo dog breeding facility announced Monday that they are closing after an extensive investigation by 8News and an undercover operation by PETA exposed the mistreatment of hundreds of beagles at the facility.

Now, 3,500 beagles are looking to become man’s best friend as a result of Envigo’s closure. 8News spoke with Virginia Senator Bill Stanley, who said he expects that a bill set to go into effect on July 1 will help ensure the dogs find their forever homes. According to the legislation, if Envigo does not sell these dogs or can’t, the company must get them adopted through an agency.

For years, 8News has investigated complaints about Envigo’s mistreatment of dogs. The company, which bred and sold beagles for research, was found to have 39 animal welfare violations at its Cumberland facility. Hundreds of beagles died under the company’s care from unknown causes, and other issues, including malnourishment and horrid living conditions, were rampant at the facility.

PETA investigators said the shutdown is a long time coming.

“We are glad the facility is closing down. It is time this facility closes down,” said Daphna Nachminovitch, a senior vice president of PETA’s Cruelty Investigations Department.

Nachminovitch said the more than 3,000 dogs left in the facility deserve new homes.

“They are entitled to the opportunity to find a good home, where they can feel the sun on their back, the grass under their paws, play, rock and sit on the couch and watch TV with their family,” she said. 

The dogs can get that opportunity if Envigo cooperates. A judge said on Monday that the company should settle their disputes with PETA.

“We remain deeply concerned about the 3,000 dogs that are confined at this hellish facility,” Nachminovitch said, before adding, “The facility seems to be arguing to the judge that they should be allowed to continue to run their business selling dogs despite persistent and repeated violations of the federal welfare act.”

In early April, Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed five bills, known as the “Beagle Bills,” to support animal welfare reform for dogs and cats that are bred and sold for experimental purposes. PETA will have help from Senator Stanley, who saw the conditions at Envigo, leading him to adopt two beagles of his own. He is willing to do whatever it takes, including making sure that Envigo falls in step with the legislation taking effect in July.

“I stand ready to make that happen, along with the other volunteers. You don’t see a lot of bills that get passed 140-0. Those were five bills that did and I’m proud of that,” Stanley said.

According to PETA, you can visit the Facebook page of the Virginia Coalition for Beagle Protection if you would like to be a part of providing a home for the dogs.