Gov. Glenn Youngkin Signs 5 Historic Beagle Bills After Virginia General Assembly Votes Unanimously to Protect Dogs at Envigo’s Cumberland Facility


Based on a July 2021 inspection, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) cited Envigo, a dog-breeding facility in Cumberland, Virginia, for 26 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA), 12 of which were direct or critical (i.e., having serious or severe adverse effects on the health and well-being of the animal). In October 2021, the USDA conducted a “focused” inspection (i.e., one that does not cover the entire facility but rather focuses on following up on previous violations) and documented 13 more violations—including 11 repeat and seven critical or direct ones. In November 2021, the USDA cited Envigo for 29 additional violations, including 14 direct and 16 repeat violations for issues identified in October. In March 2022, the agency conducted another focused inspection and found five more violations—all repeat and two of those direct.

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The USDA’s veterinarians’ findings from the two inspections include the following:

July 2021

  • CRITICAL “Mortality records show that during the time period from 01/01/2021 to 07/22/2021 over 300 puppy deaths were attributed to unknown causes, however, the facility has not taken additional steps to determine the causes of death in order prevent similar deaths of other puppies in the future.”
  • DIRECT A “huddled” and depressed” puppy was covered with feces in a waste pan.
  • CRITICAL Three dogs were killed in fights, and 71 others were injured by dogs in adjacent kennels.
  • DIRECT Numerous dogs were denied care for “severe dental disease,” wounds, eye ailments, non–weight bearing limbs, ear infections, hair loss, crusted and oozing sores, swollen toes, and more. The report states, “Animals with medical conditions including eye, skin, ear, and dental problems, may suffer from pain, discomfort, infection, and stress. Daily observation of animals to identify medical problems is essential for animal health and welfare.”
  • DIRECT Thirteen dogs were denied food for 42 hours while nursing 78 puppies. The report states, “Deprivation of food causes stress, hunger, and anxiety. Placing the food where it can be seen, smelled, and in some cases touched by dogs while the dogs are fasting is causing unnecessary distress and anxiety.”
  • DIRECT More than 450 dogs were deprived of adequate space, and hundreds of dogs and puppies were confined to rooms in which temperatures reached 92.3 degrees.
  • CRITICAL The facility “refused to provide full copies of the study records which include the procedures performed on dogs while they are on a study.”

October 2021

  • DIRECT REPEAT Only 17 staff members are directly responsible for all husbandry, daily observations, and medical treatments for almost 5,000 dogs. The report states, “There continue to be severe staffing shortages …. The facility must ensure that there are sufficient employees to carry out the level of husbandry practices and care required.”
  • DIRECT REPEAT A puppy and dogs were deprived of veterinary care for an eye infection, crusted and oozing sores on their paws, multiple skin lesions with “thickened” and “inflamed” tissue, and more.
  • CRITICAL REPEAT Puppies died after falling into a drain, and one puppy was “found deceased … with [the animal’s] head stuck in the swinging kennel door.”
  • DIRECT REPEAT Fights continued among kennelmates, often leading to injuries. One dead puppy was found eviscerated, and records showed that her kennelmates had “chewed on” her corpse. The report states, “No steps have been implemented at the facility to prevent potential compatibility issues. … There is currently no systematic pro-active attempt to identify incompatible animals[;] dogs are moved only after injuries are sustained.”
  • DIRECT REPEAT Workers put down nine dogs who were injured when “body parts” were pulled through a kennel wall by other dogs and bitten, causing “physical harm and unnecessary pain.”
  • REPEAT Inspectors witnessed multiple puppies’ legs and feet passing through the openings of “noncompliant” floors.
  • REPEAT There was “old, dried, and moldy feces” in dog enclosures, up to 6 inches of feces piled in a gutter, one kennel with “at least nine or ten piles of feces,” and an “overpowering fecal odor” and “strong sewage odor” in the facility. The report states, “Due to the accumulations of dirt and debris on the walls, it is evident that the facility is not spot-cleaning or sanitizing effectively to prevent accumulations or to reduce disease hazards.”

November 2021

  • DIRECT REPEAT Many young puppies were killed via intracardiac injection without pre-sedation, a method that causes pain and discomfort and is deemed unacceptable by the American Veterinary Medical Association.
  • DIRECT REPEAT Dozens of dogs were denied care for “severe dental disease,” “severe medical conditions of the ears, eyes, feet, skin, haircoat, and poor body condition,” “lameness,” “weakness,” “lethargy,” and “traumatic wounds.” Dogs were found with “loose teeth which moved with light pressure, exposed roots of teeth, pus along the gumlines, bleeding gums, hair and foreign material embedded in the gumlines, severe recession of the gums, severely reddened and inflamed gums, missing teeth, and significant accumulations of dark colored hard material (calculus) along the teeth.”
  • DIRECT REPEAT Twenty-one puppies were found damp, shivering, and cold. According to facility records, “25 additional puppies had been found dead with cause of death attributed to cold exposure … over the last 8 weeks.”
  • DIRECT REPEAT Inspectors witnessed “numerous serious” dogfights, found dogs with injuries from recent fights, and observed dogs guarding food from cagemates.
  • DIRECT More than 740 young dogs and puppies were deprived of adequate space.
  • Multiple dogs were deprived of adequate protection from the elements.
  • Other violations included inadequate staffing; incomplete or inaccurate records (for “at least 937 dogs”); “[n]umerous construction and maintenance issues”; “broken waterers and self-feeders”; unsafe enclosures (“6 dogs were found actively stuck in the flooring”); “wet, caked and moldy” food and feeders contaminated with “large numbers of live maggots”; filthy, cluttered, and unsanitary conditions; and insect infestations.
  • An inspection at a facility housing 36 cats found three violations, including cats being exposed to “numerous sharp points created by wires”; gaps in flooring and fencing; “broken, cracked, and crumbling” concrete; and inadequate sanitation.

March 2022

  • REPEAT A young dog had untreated wounds on his ear, a female dog’s leg had gotten caught in the door of her enclosure, and another eight dogs were treated for tail injuries that “varied from minor wounds to tail fractures and bone exposure.”
  • REPEAT Enclosures were unsafe—e.g., at least 130 of them had flooring with gaps large enough for a dog’s foot or leg to fall through the openings, multiple enclosures were found to have “sharp points at the levels of the dogs,” two dogs were found actively stuck in the flooring in one room, and in another room, a dog was found “with both rear feet trapped in the flooring.” Records showed that at least 12 additional dogs had been found this way between November and March.
  • DIRECT REPEAT Continued compatibility problems were found among the adult dogs, leading 97 dogs to sustain body and/or extremity injuries, some severe. Documented injuries include lacerations, bite wounds, bruised and damaged extremities, ear damage, and tail damage. “Eight dogs were euthanized as a result.”
  • REPEAT Moldy food was found along with feeders with “excessive grime covering the interior metal walls. This grime appeared to be a combination of hair, saliva, food particles, and skin oils. Some of the grime is so thick inspectors had difficulty being able to scrape it off with their fingers.”

The facility remains under federal investigation, and more citations are expected.


Results from PETA’s 2021 undercover investigation into the facility mirrored the USDA’s findings. Food was willfully withheld from nursing mother dogs for days, even after the USDA directed staff not to do that—and workers were told to lie to federal inspectors about it if asked. Workers with no veterinary credentials performed medical procedures on dogs, and PETA’s investigator found more than 360 dead puppies in the course of the investigation alone. Dogs were routinely left in cages while workers sprayed them with high-pressure hoses—leaving the soaked animals to shiver and their food to become moldy and infested with maggots—and puppies fell through holes in the cages and ended up in drains, covered with fecal matter and other waste, and typically died as a result.


  • SB 87 (Stanley R-20/Boysko D-33) and HB 1350 (Bell R-58) prohibit dealers and breeders from importing or selling dogs or cats bred by anyone with certain federal AWA violations on and following the bills’ effective date of July 1, 2023.
  • SB 88 (Stanley R-20/Boysko D-33) requires dog and cat breeders to maintain and report to the Commonwealth records of all the animals they sell for experimentation for two years after each animal’s sale date.
  • SB 90 (Stanley R-20/Boysko D-33) requires dog and cat breeders that breed animals for experimental purposes to offer “surplus” animals for adoption prior to euthanasia.
  • SB 604 (Stanley R-20/Boysko D-33) clarifies that dogs and cats in the possession of breeders that sell animals for experimental purposes are protected by cruelty-to-animals laws.


November 12, 2021: WRIC-TV story, “New Undercover Video Inside a Virginia Dog Breeding Facility Causing Alarm

November 14, 2021: Newsweek article, “Beagle Saved From Animal Testing Facility Set for Thanksgiving in New Home

November 15, 2021: Virginia Mercury article, “New Violations Found at Va. Beagle Breeding Center, Which Recorded 300 ‘Unknown’ Puppy Deaths

November 16, 2021: WRIC-TV story, “New Homes for Hundreds of Dogs and More Oversight at Troubled Virginia Dog Breeding Facility

November 23, 2021: The Farmville Herald article, “Envigo Cited for Animal Welfare Violations

December 26, 2021: The Washington Post article, “USDA Cites Dog-Breeding Facility in Virginia for Mistreating Animals

December 28, 2021: Tucker Carlson Tonight on Instagram, “A beagle mill housing thousands of terrified dogs is being funded by your tax dollars

January 14, 2022: The Washington Post article, “Virginia Lawmakers Try to Improve Conditions for Dogs Bred for Medical Research

January 28, 2022: WFXR-TV story, “New Report Exposes Persistent Animal Welfare Violations at Virginia Puppy Mill

January 29, 2022: WFXR-TV story, “Virginia Lawmakers Step In With 11 Bipartisan Bills to Hold Dog Breeding Facility Accountable

January 31, 2022: Williamsburg Yorktown Daily article, “Bills Introduced in General Assembly Meant to Protect Animals Bred for Lab Experiments

January 31, 2022: John Fredericks Radio Show interview, “Daphnia Nachminovitch Exposes Horrific Puppy Mill in VA

February 1, 2022: WRIC-TV story, “What Happens to Some of the Envigo Dogs? Taxpayer Funded Research Exposed

February 4, 2022: WRIC-TV story, “Envigo Blames COVID-19 for Dozens of Disturbing Animal Welfare Violations

February 7, 2022: Radio IQ segment, “Lawmakers Weigh Beagle Protection Bills

February 14, 2022: WRIC-TV story, “Beagle Puppies From Negligent Virginia Breeding Facility Searching for New Homes

February 15, 2022: Joint statement from Sens. Jennifer Boysko (D-33), Bill Stanley (R-20), and David Marsden (D-37)

February 15, 2022: WRIC-TV story, “General Assembly Takes Action on Animal Welfare After Disturbing Reports From Virginia Dog Breeding Facility

February 15, 2022: Virginia Coalition for Beagle Protection news release

February 16, 2022: Letter from seven members of Congress to USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

February 16, 2022: The Virginian-Pilot article, “Virginia Animal Advocates Hopeful as Bills Protecting Dogs and Cats at Breeding Facilities Pass State Senate

March 5, 2022: The Farmville Herald article, “Action Sought for Envigo Facility

March 7, 2022: WRIC-TV story, “New Images Show Jarring Conditions Inside Virginia Dog Breeding Facility”

March 8, 2022: Virginia Mercury article, “Virginia Lawmakers Pass New Regulations for Controversial Beagle Breeding Facility

March 9, 2022: Science article, “In a First, State Bill Would Require Nearly Perfect Welfare Record for Research Dog and Cat Suppliers

March 13, 2022: Virginia Mercury opinion piece, “Every Dog Has Its Day: The Best Thing Virginia’s General Assembly Did This Session

March 17, 2022: The Roanoke Times article, “With New Protections for Experimental Animals, Stanley Calls For Adoption of Rescued Beagles

March 23, 2022: WRIC-TV article, “Water at Controversial Cumberland Dog Breeding Facility Violated EPA and VDH Standards

March 31, 2022: Richmond Times-Dispatch article, “Warner, Kaine: Revoke Va. Breeder’s License for ‘Horrific’ Abuse of Dogs

April 1, 2022: WUSA9 article, “Virginia Dog Breeding Facility Accused of Horrific Animal Welfare Violations

April 1, 2022: Virginia Mercury article, “More Violations Found at Beagle Breeding Facility in Cumberland

April 2, 2022: Williamsburg Yorktown Daily article, “Warner and Kaine Demand Action Following Inspections at Virginia Dog Breeding Facility

April 4, 2022: The Roanoke Times article, “‘Good Day to Be a Dog or Cat’ as Protections Become Virginia Law

April 4, 2022: WRIC-TV article, “Youngkin Signs ‘Beagle Bills’ for Animal Welfare Reform

April 4, 2022: Richmond Times-Dispatch article, “Youngkin Signs ‘Beagle Bills’ Against Animal Cruelty

April 4, 2022: WRIC-TV article, “Senators Call For Dog Breeding Facility’s License to Be Revoked

April 13, 2022: The Virginian-Pilot editorial, “Editorial: Dogs Bring Officials Together

May 14, 2022: Maryland Matters article, “Lawmakers Demand End to ‘Barbaric’ Treatment of Animals by Maryland-Bound Firm

May 19, 2022: National Geographic article, “Hundreds of Beagles Died at This Breeding Center—but the U.S. Government Hasn’t Acted

May 20, 2022: AP News article, “Feds Sue Operator of Dog Breeding Facility, Seize Beagles

May 20, 2022: Virginia Mercury article, “Feds Seize 145 Dogs and Puppies From Cumberland Beagle Breeding Facility

May 20, 2022: Richmond Times-Dispatch article, “Feds Seize 145 Beagles From Envigo; U.S. Urges Judge to Act Against Breeder

May 20, 2022: WUSA9 article, “More Than 100 Beagles Taken From Virginia Dog Breeding Facility Following Animal Abuse Allegations

May 20, 2022: CBS News article, “Feds Seize 145 Beagles ‘in Distress’ From Virginia Research Facility Where Hundreds of Dogs Were Found Dead

May 20, 2022: Science article, “Update: Federal Judge Blocks Controversial Facility From Breeding, Selling Dogs

May 20, 2022: The Washington Post article, “Feds Sue Operator of Dog Breeding Facility, Seize Beagles

May 21, 2022: WRIC-TV article, “Federal Judge Bars Envigo From Breeding, Selling Dogs

May 21, 2022: The Virginia Star article, “USDA Agents Raid and Seize Dogs at Beagle-Breeder-for Testing Envigo

May 22, 2022: AP News article, “Judge Issues Order Against Virginia Dog Breeding Facility

May 22, 2022: Blue Virginia article, “Breaking: U.S. Judge Bars Envigo From Breeding, Selling Dogs in Groundbreaking Order

May 22, 2022: The Washington Post article, “Judge Issues Order Against Virginia Dog Breeding Facility

May 22, 2022: WKRC article, “145 Beagles Rescued From Research Facility Where Hundreds of Dogs Were Found Dead

May 23, 2022: Richmond Times-Dispatch article, “Judge Issues Order to Halt Breeder Envigo’s ‘Torturous’ Abuse of Beagles

May 31, 2022: The Spokesman-Review opinion piece, Wayne Pacelle and Tamara Drake: Beagle Abuse Exposes Flaws in Drug Research

June 2, 2022: Richmond Times-Dispatch article, “Authorities Seized Nearly 450 Beagles From Envigo

June 14, 2022: Richmond Times-Dispatch article, “Envigo’s Cumberland Beagle Mill to Close; Lawmakers Urge Adoption of Remaining Dogs

June 14, 2022: Science article, “Beleaguered Beagle Facility Closes Under Government Pressure. Fate of 3000 Dogs Unclear

June 17, 2022: Virginia Mercury article, “Beagle Breeding Facility Shutting Down Over Violations Will Be Allowed to Sell 500 Dogs

June 17, 2022: The Charlotte Observer article, “27 Beagles Need Help in Georgia After They Were Rescued From a Future in Testing Labs

June 19, 2022: New York Post article, “Illegal Virginia Beagle Facility Must Cease Breeding New Puppies: Judge

June 20, 2022: article, “Judge Allows Embattled Va. Beagle Breeder to Sell Dogs as Closure of Facility Looms

June 20, 2022: CBS19 News article, “ENVIGO to Sell Hundreds of Dogs Despite Company Shut Down

June 22, 2022: WRIC-TV article, “Virginia Lawmakers Want Cumberland Dog Breeder’s License Suspended to Prevent Sale of Beagles

June 22, 2022: The Center Square article, “Virginia Lawmakers Ask USDA to Suspend Envigo License Over Animal Welfare Violations

June 22, 2022: Richmond Times-Dispatch article, “Va. Lawmakers Urge U.S. to Suspend Envigo’s License, to Bar Sale of 500 Beagles

June 22, 2022: The Farmville Herald article, “Envigo Allowed to Sell Dogs While Closing Its Doors

June 28, 2022: The Farmville Herald article, “Fate of Dogs Debate Continues

July 3, 2022: Animals 24-7 article, “4,500+ Beagles Freed From Laboratory Use by Judge’s Order

July 5, 2022: Richmond Times-Dispatch article, “Judge Signs Off on Plan to Put About 4,000 Envigo Beagles Up for Adoption

July 5, 2022: AP News article, “Judge OKs Transfer Plan for Beagles From Troubled Facility

July 6, 2022: WRIC-TV article, “Around 4,000 Beagles From Controversial Cumberland Breeding Facility to Be Released for Adoption in Coming Months

July 7, 2022: article, “Over 4,000 Beagles Rescued From Medical Breeding Facility Need Homes. A Triangle-Based Organization Says You Can Help.

July 12, 2022: The New York Times article, “4,000 Beagles Are Being Rescued From a Virginia Facility. Now They Need New Homes.

July 12, 2022: CNN article, “4,000 Beagles Will Be Rescued From a Virginia Breeding Facility

July 13, 2022: USA Today article, “4,000 Beagles to Be Rescued From Virginia Breeding Facility After Animal Welfare Violations Alleged

July 13, 2022: Today article, “4,000 Mistreated Beagles Rescued From a Breeding Facility Now Need Forever Homes

July 13, 2022: The News & Observer article, “Thousands of Beagles Will Soon Need Homes After Rescue From Virginia Breeding Facility

July 16, 2022: WABC-TV article, “4,000 Beagles Will Need New Homes After Rescue From Mistreatment at Virginia Breeding Facility

July 18, 2022: STAT article, “Contract Research Organization to Transfer 4,000 Beagles From Facility Cited for Inhumane Care

July 18, 2022: Richmond Times-Dispatch article, “Shelters, Rescue Groups Helping Find Homes for 4,000 Beagles From Virginia Breeder Mill

July 19, 2022: CNN video, “4,000 Beagles Will Be Rescued From a Virginia Animal Testing Facility

July 19, 2022: WGN Radio interview, “4,000 Beagles Rescued From Animal Testing Center in Virginia

July 21, 2022: NPR article, “Animal Welfare Groups Are Gearing Up for a Massive Canine Rescue in Virginia

July 21, 2022: Radio IQ article, “Abused Beagles Begin Their Trip to a New Home

July 21, 2022: WRIC article, “Hundreds of Beagles Released From Cumberland Breeding Facility Envigo Arrive in Northern Virginia

July 21, 2022: WUSA 9 article, “‘Like Christmas in July’ | Hundreds of Beagles Rescued From Virginia Breeding Facility Arrive to Local Animal Shelters to Be Adopted Out

July 22, 2022: The Franklin News-Post article, “Shelters, Rescue Groups Helping Find Homes for 4,000 Beagles From Virginia Breeder Mill

July 22, 2022: Blue Virginia article, “Rescue of 4,000 Beagles Prompts PETA Push: Empty ALL Laboratory Cages!

July 23, 2022: Tucker Carlson Tonight interview, “Beagles Freed From Dr. Fauci’s Testing Lab

July 26, 2022: The Farmville Herald article, “Envigo Dogs Are Ready for Adoption

July 26, 2022: article, “‘They Don’t Know What Treats Are.’ Beagles Rescued From Medical Breeding Facility Looking for Homes in the Triangle

July 27, 2022: The Bulwark article, “Tucker Carlson’s Dogged Pursuit

July 27, 2022: CNN opinion piece, “4,000 Beagles Just Got a Gift From the Justice Department

July 27, 2022: The Virginian-Pilot editorial, “Beagles Headed Home

August 1, 2022: Daily Local News article, “Chester County Animal Rescue Saves Group of Abused Beagles

August 2, 2022: piece, “Must Fido Pay the Price for Saving Human Lives?

August 4, 2022: News & Record article, “Our Opinion: A Dog’s Way Home

August 5, 2022: WTVR article, “More Beagles Seized From Breeding Facility Arrive in Richmond: ‘This Is a Great Day’

August 5, 2022: WWBT article, “Beagles Arrive at Richmond SPCA

August 10, 2022: CBS News article, “Beagles Rescued From Inhumane Conditions at a Breeding Facility Find Loving Homes

August 17, 2022: NBC News piece, “Inside the Rescue Operation of 4,000 Beagles From Medical Facility

August 24, 2022: Richmond Times-Dispatch article, “A Regal Beagle, Meghan & Prince Harry Adopt Beagle From Virginia Breeding Facility

August 25, 2022: Ocala StarBanner article, “Beagles Rescued From Substandard Virginia Facility Soon Available for Adoption in Ocala

September 6, 2022: The Wildest article, “4,000 Beagles Rescued From a Research Facility Are In Need of Homes

September 7, 2022: WWBT article, “Lawmakers Say They’re Celebrating Beagle Liberation

September 11, 2022: Los Angeles Times article, “The Seizure of Thousands of Mistreated Beagles Sparks Unsettling Questions About Animal Research

September 14, 2022: PBS NewsHour TikTok video including an interview with Daphna Nachminovitch

September 26, 2022: ABC7 News article, “Lawmakers Introduce FDA Modernization Act to Save More Beagles From Experimentation

October 17, 2022: The Washington Post article, “Profit, Pain and Puppies: Inside the Rescue of Nearly 4,000 Beagles

December 1, 2022: Chattanooga Times Free Press article, “Beagles Rescued From Virginia Breeding Facility Join Chattanooga Families

December 20, 2022: The Guardian article, “‘We Did Not Stop’: How Rescue Groups Saved 3,776 Abused Beagles

February 13, 2023: WSET article, “Rescued Envigo Beagle ‘June’ Played on Team That Won 2023 Puppy Bowl

February 21, 2023: The Virginian-Pilot article, “Virginia Bill Would Require Animal Testing Facilities to Submit Info to the State

March 9, 2023: Reuters article, “Exclusive: US Probe of Dog Breeder Scrutinizes Why USDA Left Thousands of Beagles to Suffer

March 9, 2023: Reuters article, “Events Leading Up to the Seizure of 4,000 Beagles at Envigo Facility

March 27, 2023: Reuters article, “USDA Official Who Oversaw Envigo Beagle Inspections to Step Down—Email


Virginia Coalition for Beagle Protection

The Virginia Coalition for Beagle Protection is a coalition of national and Virginia-based animal protection organizations formed in response to the crisis of care at Envigo, the largest commercial dog-breeding facility in the Commonwealth. Our members include the following animal protection organizations:

Alleghany Humane Society

Animal Resources of Tidewater

Basset Rescue of Old Dominion

Bay Beagle Rescue

Beagles and Bentleys

Bristol Humane Society Margaret B. Mitchell Spay/Neuter Clinic

Bully Advocate & Rescue Collective

Cat Action Team

Chesapeake Humane Society

Danville Area Humane Society

Dogs Deserve Better Blue Ridge

Gray Face Acres Senior Dog Rescue

Heritage Humane Society

Homes Fur Hounds

Humane Society of Fairfax County

Humane Society of the United States

Lucky Dog Animal Rescue

Lynchburg Humane Society

Middleburg Humane Foundation

Norfolk Animal Care and Adoption Center

Norfolk SPCA

NoVA Coalition for Animals

Partners Among Cats and Canines


Peninsula SPCA

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Portsmouth Humane Society

Reba’s Animal Rescue

Richmond SPCA

SPCA of Northern Virginia

Symbiotic Inc.

Virginia Alliance for Animal Shelters

Virginia Animal Control Association

Virginia Animal Rights Voters

Virginia Beach SPCA

Virginia Federation of Humane Societies

Wise County Humane Society

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