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‘From lab to love’: Former research beagles play in Kelowna after rescue

The Beagle Alliance rescued 10 pups that were being used as laboratory test subjects
Rescued beagles meeting their new foster families in Kelowna after being rescued from laboratory testing. (Jacqueline Gelineau/Capital News)

Ten sweet pups have made their first steps towards a life outside of a laboratory, thanks to the Beagle Alliance.

“These dogs have never felt the sun on their snouts or the grass under their paws. It’s a special moment to see their first few steps”, says Lori Cohen, executive director of The Beagle Alliance, an organization that works to help dogs that were used as animal test subjects in laboratories.

The 10 pups came from an undisclosed lab in the United States and have been travelling across Canada since April 16, on the “dogs know no border tour.” The crew has been travelling from Manitoba to Vancouver Island, dropping off pups with their new foster and forever families along the way. Six of the former test subjects are already snuggled in and acclimatizing to a life of luxury.

On April 18, the four remaining dogs got to stop for a play break in Kelowna while two of the rescued beagles met their new foster families.

The last two pups will continue their journey to foster homes in Castlegar and Nanaimo.

Forever homes are still being sought for the pups and people who are interested in adopting a dog are asked to contact the Beagle Alliance at 1(204)266-1968.

While the rescue organization cannot disclose the name or type of lab the dogs were rescued from or what exactly the animals endured, it is evident that they have suffered trauma, said Cohen. She has assisted in the rescue of more than 50 beagles from animal testing and is a fur mom to two pups, including the first-ever Beagle Alliance rescue.

“They do suffer in varying degrees with PTSD and anxiety,” said Cohen about the former research subjects.

To help the beagles overcome the anxiety associated with entering a new phase of life and to learn to overcome their trauma, Cohen said the rescue tries to send the rescued pups to foster homes that already have friendly dogs.

She said that having a puppy dog role model helps the rescued pups learn to play and act like a dog.

“They never learned how to be a dog and do not even know how to play,” said Cohen.

The use of animal testing for research is legal in Canada and the USA. Most commonly, dogs are used in veterinary medicine and cosmetic testing.

Cohen said that beagles are the primary breed of dog used in research because they are friendly, do not typically bite, and most importantly are forgiving.

Typically, after a life of being used as a test subject, the animals are euthanized once they are no longer of use to the lab.

To give the animals an opportunity to experience life outside, the Beagle Alliance rescues the critters so that they can go “from lab to love.”

Rescue organizations, like the Beagle Alliance, are only able to step in once the research animals are no longer of use to the laboratory and are deemed acceptable for release.

The Beagle Alliance also rescues other breeds of dogs, cats and farm animals that were used in research or were in situations of abuse and neglect, across Canada and the midwest United States.

The 10 beagles that were rescued by the Alliance are between the ages of four and seven and are ready to start exploring the world outside of a sterile laboratory.

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Jacqueline Gelineau

About the Author: Jacqueline Gelineau

I'm a reporter in the beginning stages of my career. I joined the team at Capital News in November 2021...
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