Company fined $35 million for neglecting dogs at breeding facility


A company accused of mistreating thousands of beagles at its breeding facility in Virginia has agreed to pay a record $35 million as part of a criminal plea. This plea marks the largest penalties ever in an animal-welfare case.

The company, Envigo RMS, and its parent company, Inotiv, will no longer be able to breed or sell dogs due to the plea deal. The investigation prompted national attention after authorities found hundreds of distressed animals at the Cumberland County facility in Virginia in 2022.

In the aftermath, the company had to give up all 4,000 beagles, which were later sent for adoption across the country. The plea hearing took place at the federal court in Charlottesville where U.S. Attorney Christopher Kavanaugh highlighted the corporations prioritizing profits over the law, leading to neglectful conditions for the dogs.

The investigation revealed shocking violations, such as cages not being cleaned daily, animals being put down without sedation, lack of food and water, and more. The insufficient care resulted in the deaths of 300 puppies within seven months alongside other troubling incidents.

The plea deal includes a massive $11 million fine for breaking the Animal Welfare Act and another $11 million for Clean Water Act violations. Inotiv must also invest $7 million in facility improvements over three years to meet higher standards than the Animal Welfare Act regulations.

The plea agreement accepts responsibility for discharging improperly treated wastewater and calls for further environmental repairs in Cumberland County. The companies are also required to pay a substantial amount to the Humane Society of the United States for their involvement in the case.

The statement released by Inotiv expressed remorse for their actions and a renewed commitment to upholding animal welfare standards moving forward.

Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American not-for-profit news agency headquartered in New York City.

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