A Nonprofit Not-So-Shaggy Dog Tale: Rescuing Lab Beagles



November 10, 2014; CBS Los Angeles

Companies often use beagles for chemical and pharmaceutical testing, but CBS’s Los Angeles affiliate reported on a local group giving some of those dogs a life outside of a cage and in “forever homes.”

The Beagle Freedom Project saves beagles used in research labs and has rescued more than 300 from across the country since 2010.

“These dogs have spent their lives in a cage,” said the group. “We were told directly by the people in the lab that they have never been outside, that they had never seen sunlight, that they had never had a toy.”

The TV report tells the story of Riley, a three-year-old dog who met his family in July. He first showed some signs of being a lab dog, but he quickly learned the ropes around the home.

What goes on in many labs is usually well hidden from the public, although the animal rights advocacy group PETA has made its name showing videos from investigations; in one, a worker is shown force-feeding a beagle Oxycontin. Another investigation showed beagles suffering mental trauma after years of confinement.


“It’s important to note that there is no experiment on dogs that’s illegal. Experiments have to be approved by committees within a laboratory, but nothing is against the law, so they’re put through all kinds of cruelty,” says a PETA spokesperson, adding that most dogs end up euthanized.

Dogs bred for the lab rarely end up in a loving home, mostly because the labs want to keep a low profile—they understand the power that anti-cruelty advocacy campaigns can have on public opinion. While there is strong support for the medical necessity of such experimentation, the details of it repulse the public.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, the agency in charge of overseeing animal testing, turned down CBS’s request for an interview.—Larry Kaplan

  • Teresa Black

    there has to be another way than experimenting on animals. Dogs have learned to be so tuned in to us over the centuries. If you have lived with an animal as part of your family you could never do this. Medical reasons are always cited as the reason. Then why experiment because of household products and cosmetics. We need these dogs to be released for a chance of a home. We have the evidence now that these dogs can adapt and live as family pets in a forever home. Public opinion won’t go away we will keep on about this until we have change.

  • mandy spencer

    I love this breed and would really like to give a lab dog a loving home,how do you go about this?

  • Shannon Hoenninger

    there has to be a better way. Please end the suffering.

  • M.Ramos

    If you or you know someone who would like to adopt an ex-lab beagle or ex-lab cat (bunnies too!) , please visit Beagle Freedom Projects website or Facebook page. You can fill out a foster or adopters application . All U.S States are encouraged to do so as well as in the U.K.

    Thank you Larry Kaplan for running this story and bringing it to the forefront.

    Adopt or Foster here: http://www.beaglefreedomproject.org/adopt_or_foster

    1) Beagle Freedom Project
    2) Beagle Freedom Project U.K

  • Suzan

    More needs to be done to stp this cruelty.