WARWICK – Forty floppy-eared beagles made a pilgrimage to Rhode Island on Tuesday, completing their dramatic rescue from the medical-research industry.
The dogs, including 15 puppies, arrived aboard a special canine transport vehicle with a Maryland license plate.
Then, one by one, the wiggly beagles landed in the arms of loving volunteers and staff of the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The beagles were brought into the air-conditioned building as part of a dramatic turn of fortune.
At one point, the dogs were the property of a company that provides beagles to medical laboratories for research purposes.
Then, the Humane Society of the United States took custody in a bid to give them different lives. Now, the RISPCA has set out to find New Englanders who are willing to adopt them.
“They won the beagle lottery,” said the RISPCA’s president, Wayne Kezirian, who limited his comments on the provenance of the beagles and their background, declining to name their previous owners.
Kezirian said he is muzzled by a confidentiality agreement. He declined to say what state the beagles came from, saying only that “these were in an apparent neglect situation.”
The organization has moved in on a fast track to accommodate the beagles. Its kennel in East Providence has no vacancy.
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The two puppy litters each had their own room. One litter remained with their mother.
A veterinarian was expected on site later Tuesday afternoon to examine a beagle who might be pregnant with what would be a third litter, Kezirian said.
In general, Kezirian was happy with the condition of the beagles, saying that he had feared that they would need some special care before they would be ready for adoption.
“What I have seen from them coming off the transport is that these animals are pretty much ready to go,” he said.
Over the next couple of days, volunteers and staff will care for animals at facility on Plan Way.
The puppies who have been weaned from their mother should be ready for adoption next week, he said.
The weaning and preparation of the other litter will take about eight weeks, he said.
The dogs should be ready by the first or second week of July, he said.
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Some of the dogs need dental care. The RISPCA has made arrangements for that, but the organization hopes to find volunteers who can look after dogs in the interim.
To adopt one of the dogs, make contact with the RISPCA via their website. To volunteer, call (401) 438-8150.
Meanwhile, Kezirian said, the organization hopes to find someone capable who is willing “to step up” and look after seven puppies, plus their nursing mother, for an entire month.
Kezirian made the appeal looking in one direction.
“That would be wonderful,” he added, as he turned his head back toward some other cameras and two hand-held microphones.
The head movement was beagle-like. He smiled.