Beagles rescued to find new homes, doing well in Maine

Megan King holds one of her newly adopted beagles, Willow, in Scarborough on Saturday. Sean Patrick Owlette / Staff Photographer

Scarborough – Willow the beagle is friendly, outgoing, and loves a new activity: chewing toys.

Her sister, Ivy, is shy and hides behind the sofa, but loves cuddling.

The puppies, both just under a year old, were among 100 beagles that were flown to Maine on September 4 and rescued from a mass breeding facility in Virginia.

Until their rescue, the dogs knew life only from inside the kennel. The facility, Envigo RMS, has been closed by a federal court over animal welfare law violations, including nursing claims for beagles that have been denied food and dogs being fed food contaminated with mold, worms and feces.

Willow cuddles with Savannah King in Scarborough on Saturday. Sean Patrick Owlette / Staff Photographer

Invigo bred dogs to sell for medical experiments. In all, approximately 4,000 beagles were saved.

“Over eight weeks, 25 pups died from exposure to cold,” said Katie Hansberry, Maine director of the Humane Society of the United States.

Additionally, the beagle was not provided care at the facility with treatable medical problems, Hansbury said, “instead they were choosing to euthanize them.”

For the rescued beagle, their future is bright. The Humane Society of the United States has worked to place dogs in shelters across the country for adoption.

Most Maine dogs are in nursing homes while their permanent placements are established. Only a few have been adopted, and there will be more adoptions in the coming weeks, said Gina Roth of the Association of Greater Portland Animal Shelters in Westbrook.

The King’s family with the beagles they adopted. From left: Cindy and her nephew Robert, Savannah and Megan. Beagles are ivy and willow. Sean Patrick Owlette / Staff Photographer

Roth said that beagles have been in various stages since their arrival.

“Younger ones experience an easier transition,” she said, while older dogs, who have spent more time in a mass breeding facility, need more time and training before they are adopted. They are accustomed to doors, windows, yards, and other dogs and cats. “Every hawk has its own path, settling down and enjoying a life of human companionship,” Roth said.

The Greater Portland Animal Shelter Association received 25 out of 100 beagles. Finn, who has been at the Virginia facility the longest, is the oldest. It is believed to be around 4 years old and was used for breeding. Roth said Finn would need patience to help him adjust.

“He’s fine. He just came back to the orphanage from his foster home,” said Ruth. “We are working on finding a permanent home for him.”

The flippers will need a lively, calm and calm environment.

“He had cats in his house. He was nervous about it,” Ruth said, adding that he was startled by the windows, the stairs, and the normal noises of the house. But Finn likes to be close to people.” His adoptive father said Finn is very warm. He enjoys being next to her and sleeping with her.”

Ivy, left, and Willow play in the garden at Cindy King’s house on Saturday. Sean Patrick Owlette / Staff Photographer

It is expected that a few beagles will be available for adoption this week at the Westbrook shelter, Roth said, adding that people are calling every day about adoption, but the exact number of dogs available is not yet known. They are working to find out how many adoptive parents have adopted the beagle they have taken.

Of the other 75 beagles who have gone to shelters across Maine from Kennebunk to Oxford, “we hear they’re doing fine,” Roth said. “We’re seeing updates on adoption photos.”

Katie Lesnik, executive director of the Greater Androscogen Humane Society of Lewiston, has received photos from her adoptive parents. One photo shows a Beagle relaxing on a sofa, while another shows two Beagles playing in a yard.

Lewiston shelter received eight beagles. As of Saturday all were in nursing homes.

“They are doing very well,” she said, “but we are approaching adoption with care.”

The dogs are beginning to adapt, but they do not know how to live in homes and are not afraid when they hear the dishwasher, the doorbell.

“Everything is a new experience,” Lesnik said.

Ivy wanders in the garden at Cindy King’s home in Scarborough. Sean Patrick Owlette / Staff Photographer

She’s heard from some of her adoptive parents that a few beagles can be aggressive with a high-value toy or treat, without any experience before.

Like Ruth, Lesnik said that beagles are sweet with humans, and some may need more time to adjust to another cat or dog.

Now that the 14-day quarantine period is over, Lesnik said, “we don’t make dogs available until we have a clear plan on how to meet and greet.”

“We encourage people to apply online,” she said. The shelter will pre-screen applicants and move from there.

Ruth said that all 100 beagles would soon have good homes.

On Saturday, Cindy King of Scarborough smiled as she watched her foster dogs. Sniff the willow and then pull the flower from the ground. Ivy sat on a relative’s lap. In recent days I’ve heard them howling, “Find their inner voice.”

Willow and Ivy were adopted by Megan and Howard King. Howard King is Cindy King’s nephew.

Megan King said her family loved the dogs, but didn’t think she was ready for adoption shortly after the death of her hound mix, Lucy, a month ago.

“My husband and I walked across the street to meet them,” Megan said. “This did her. We fell in love with them. I fell in love with this, Ivy. My husband fell in love with Willow.”

Still saddened by the loss of Lucy, she said, the meeting of the two beagles happened for a reason.

“They help us all.”

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