PETA Says, ‘Enough’s Enough—Take Its License,’ as Dog Protection Bills Hit Legislature
For Immediate Release:
January 27, 2022
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
Cumberland, Va. – Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) posted another damning inspection report citing Indiana-based Envigo—whose massive dog-breeding facility in Cumberland County, Virginia, has sold dogs to laboratories in the U.S. and overseas—for 13 more violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA), 11 of which are repeat violations and seven of which are “critical” or “direct.”
The inspection, which occurred in October and was prompted by PETA’s complaint following its own undercover investigation into the facility, found that a puppy and dogs were deprived of veterinary care for an eye infection, crusted and oozing sores on their paws, and other eye and foot ailments; that puppies died after falling into a drain or getting their head trapped in a cage door; and that puppies’ legs and feet fell through cage floors. According to the report, workers medicated dogs without consulting the facility’s sole full-time veterinarian; took no steps to prevent fights among dogs, with one puppy found eviscerated in an enclosure with nine littermates and staff unaware that another dog was biting and wounding another; and, in two months, put down nine dogs who were injured when their leg or tail was pulled through a kennel wall by other dogs. The USDA found moldy feces in dog enclosures, up to 6 inches of feces piled in a gutter, and an “overpowering fecal odor” and “strong sewage odor” in the facility.
Envigo, a global company valued at $545 million, was also cited for employing only 17 people to provide nearly 5,000 dogs with direct care at its Virginia site, which produces 500 puppies per month. Despite the opening of a USDA investigation into Envigo at least three months ago and another multiday inspection in November, the findings of which are still—two months later—not yet posted, the agency has yet to confiscate a single dog from Envigo or even temporarily suspend the company’s license. The USDA is specifically authorized by law to do both, and it has done so upon finding similarly egregious violations and animal suffering at other licensed facilities.
“Intentional food deprivation, failure to provide suffering dogs with veterinary care, a sky-high puppy mortality rate, woefully inadequate staffing, filth—the list goes on,” says PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch. “What will it take for the USDA to take meaningful action for the 5,000 beagle dogs and puppies suffering at Envigo?”
In a bipartisan effort to address conditions exposed by PETA and federal inspections, eight Virginia legislators have introduced 11 bills to hold Envigo accountable. If passed, the bills would implement state oversight and inspections of the facility; require Envigo to submit annual birth, death, and other statistics to the state; clarify that dogs in the facility’s possession are protected by cruelty-to-animals laws; prohibit sales for a period of two years if facilities are cited for certain violations of the AWA; and more. Photos from PETA’s investigation are available here, and video footage is available here.