After release from U.S. research facilities, rescue beagles head to new Okanagan homes

Click to play video: 'Okanagan foster families step up to care for beagles rescued from research labs.'
Okanagan foster families step up to care for beagles rescued from research labs.
A handful of beagles are safe and sound in Okanagan foster homes tonight after being rescued from research labs. The animals are getting their first taste of freedom after spending their entire lives in a lab setting. As Klaudia Van Emmerik reports, the dogs were rescued by an organization that says Canada has to do much better to protect animals being used for testing. – Apr 18, 2024

Beagles released from scientific testing facilities south of the border will soon be calling the Okanagan home.

The Beagle Alliance is rehoming 10 former research beagles, ranging in age from three years old and seven years old, and nearly half have found Okanagan homes.

Three will begin a new life in Kelowna, B.C., starting Thursday, while one started over with a new family in Vernon Wednesday, Lori Cohen from the Beagle Alliance said.

“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,” Lori Cohen, Executive Director of The Beagle Alliance said.

“They’re from a lab in the U.S., the facilities in Canada are not releasing to us, yet.”

Click to play video: 'Canada’s ban of cosmetic testing on animals ‘decades in the making’: Humane Society International'
Canada’s ban of cosmetic testing on animals ‘decades in the making’: Humane Society International

Cohen said there are 10,000 dogs used for science in Canada, and facilities do the testing are not bound to release them into any rescue or advocacy, such as theirs. There is no federal governing body that oversees the treatment of animals in Canada and testing on animals.

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The dogs who are making their way to homes in B.C. this week are from undisclosed labs in the U.S., and the nature of study they were subjected to remains to be seen. Their varying experiences make them in dire need of a caring home.

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“They do suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome and anxiety and they need time to decompress,” Cohen said.

For the most part she said they are best when they move into a home with another dog, whose cues may lead them onto a calmer path.

However, she said beagles are scent hounds which makes them a flight risk at the best of times. Add to that, Cohen said, the fight-or-flight response prompted by the testing history and it can be more challenging.

“The fosters we have are very patient, and the dogs become incredible ambassadors for us,” she said.

“They are resilient.”

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