One of the Beagles rescued from a breeding facility in Virginia had the fortune of being adopted by a celebrity couple from Sussex.
Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Kent, went to the home of the Beagle Freedom Project organizer in North Hollywood, California, to pick a Beagle to be part of their family.
Shannon Keith, an animal rights lawyer and organizer of the project, told the media on August 23, 2022, that the couple adopted a 7-year-old female Beagle named Mamma Mia.
Keith said that they were the most loving and sensitive adopters she had met and was pleased that the couple chose an older dog over a puppy. “They made a point to adopt a rescue named Mia, who most would overlook because she is older, has health issues, and is traumatized by her past,” Keith said.
Mamma Mia, or Mia for short, started her life at the Envigo medical research facility in Cumberland, Virginia, where thousands of Beagles were used for pharmaceutical research and testing.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) conducted an undercover investigation on the facility back in 2021, where they documented the horrendous conditions the Beagles were subjected to.
The investigation revealed that the dogs were housed in cramped cages with inadequate sanitation and air circulation in a warehouse the size of a football field. The tests performed on the Beagles were painful, with some being euthanized without the use of a sedative, and many were found to be in very poor health.
Mia was born and raised in one of those cages, and she was raised to be bred repeatedly, with her puppies being used for research. Like all of the Beagles in the facility, Mia was mostly kept in the cage where she sleeps, eats, drinks, and excretes.
Most of the dogs rarely see sunlight, and they were housed in a facility where the noise level is very high due to the barking and crying of the animals.
A New Home
In early August 2022, after a judge ordered the closure of the facility, 4,000 Beagles had to be transferred to various animal shelters across the US to find suitable adopters and new homes.
Involved with this massive transfer is the Beagle Freedom Project that Keith spearheads to rescue Beagles used for research and help legislate laws, which ultimately would ban the practice.
When Keith first talked with Meghan over the phone about adopting a Beagle, she said the Duchess was unaware that they were in the process of getting nine dogs from the Envigo facility.
Keith then told her that they have one of the mothers of the Beagles, and immediately, Meghan stated, “Oh my goodness, we would love to adopt the mother!”
Upon arriving at her home, Keith said that the couple formed an immediate bond with Mia, with Meghan getting down on the floor to meet the dog. Harry also showed great interest in Mia’s welfare, asking about her various health issues.
When the adoption was finalized, and they were ready to bring Mia home, Harry noticed the dog trying to sniff and find something. “We can’t leave yet, there’s something that she wants,” he said.
True enough, Mia was trying to find the new toy she was given when she was being transferred out of the facility. Upon finding it, she went outside and joined the couple.
Keith said Harry was elated. “I knew it. I knew she wanted something…now we can go home because she has her toy,” he said.
Keith found it sensitive and intuitive of Harry. From then on, she knew that Mia had found her perfect home.