FAIRFAX STATION, Va. — For these pups, it's the start of a whole new journey.
"This is just the first of many beagles that we're getting,” said Rebecca Goodhart, deputy director of Homeward Trails, an animal rescue in northern Virginia. "So, this is our first crop of people that have not gone to foster or adopter yet."
These beagles are just a fraction of the 4,000 rescued dogs now needing homes after animal rights groups uncovered animal welfare violations at a breeding facility for medical testing animals in Virginia. Federal officials moved to sue the facility, which is now shutting down that Virginia location.
"For the most part, what we found with all of the dogs that we took last week are everybody needed to be spayed or neutered and then all of them have some degree of dental disease,” Goodhart said. “So, this group got the first round of dental procedures."
Rescue group Homeward Trails committed to taking in 200 beagles. They're not the only ones.
Animal rescues in Maryland, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, and as far away as Wyoming and California, among others, are also stepping up.
"We have been working in partnership with the Humane Society of the United States, who is really responsible for the placement of the 4,000," Goodhart said. "We as rescues and shelters always work very collaboratively together. And the outreach for these dogs has been - just from the public, in addition to the other organizations - has been amazing."
When you're dealing with 4,000 beagles, though, the need is enormous.
Most came with medical records and are between 2 and 4 years old. None had names; just a number that the facility tattooed on the inside of their ears.
That may have you wondering: why are beagles the preferred breed for medical testing?
"It's partly because of their size, because they're kind of a nice compact size and partly because of temperament,” Goodhart said. “They tend to like them because they're very docile, so they're easy to handle."
With that in mind, Lisa Hall came to adopt a beagle, or rather, she waited to see which beagle would adopt her.
"I think she's the one,” Hall said of one beagle, nicknamed Nala by the animal rescue. “She thinks I'm the one."
Because of what they've been through, experts say patience is critical with these shy dogs.
"What she's gone through, we don't even really know. You know, it's not a normal dog experience," Hall said. "[They] went over with me like the crating and the routine and what she'll need to feel safe and secure."
Experts believe having another dog in the home already could also be helpful because it allows the beagles to observe how to walk on a leash, how to get used to living in a house and how to become a pet. Hall has no problem with that.
"I'm going to have to get a bigger bed because I was already two dogs on the bed," she said.
With that, Nala, who Lisa Hall is renaming Roo, is on her way to a brighter future.
"Yeah, you're going to have a great life," she told Roo.
If you are interested in more information on how you can help or how you can adopt any of these beagles, you can go online to humanesociety.org or click here.