FRANKLIN CO., Va. (WDBJ) – With their noses leading the way, two beagles took off across the yard, exploring almost every blade of grass.
And while the dogs appeared right at home, they didn’t start out in the Franklin County countryside.
“This is Daisy, which we got in 2020 on my first visit to the Envigo facility,” said Sen. Bill Stanley (R-Franklin County). This is Dixie, the 2021 beagle that we got on my second and last visit to the Envigo facility. They’re the newest members of our family, and we love them.”
At the time, the Envigo facility in Cumberland, Virginia was still selling animals for research and testing.
Stanley had introduced legislation that would have put the facility out of business and he toured the operation at the request of another lawmaker.
He met Daisy in a loading bay.
“I stuck my hand, ignoring the other people, in through the cage, and this dog put her head in my hand, and I turned and looked at them and said ‘This dog is not being experimented on. How much for this dog?”
After bringing Daisy, and later Dixie, home to his family, Stanley said there was a period of adjustment that required plenty of patience.
“They’re not used to being outside of a cage. They weren’t used to the feel of grass under their feet. And they were very skittish,” Stanley said. “And so you have to take a lot of time with these animals to acclimate them to their new lives.”
Laura Stanley said it’s been worth it.
“Just to watch them become puppies and dogs, and experience running in the grass, and just freedom has been a very rewarding experience,” she said.
And the Stanleys say they’re happy Daisy and Dixie helped to blaze a trail for the thousands of other beagles now looking for their new home.
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