SEVENTY TWO BEAGLES RESCUED FROM CERTAIN DEATH
Staff Reporter / 2011-12-02 20:01:49
This is the story of 72 beagle dogs that had spent their entire lives living in a cage in a laboratory in Barcelona. They had no idea that in less than 2 weeks their lives would be changing forever... They would either be dead or on their way to freedom.
On the evening of Friday 21st October Eve Allen and her partner Graham who live near Alicante were made aware of a laboratory closing in Barcelona that had 72 beagles that needed rescuing. A two week deadline had been set to re-home these dogs before they would be killed. Eve and her vets Eva & Willie at CanisaX had decided to try and rescue 6 to 10 of the younger dogs in the hope of giving them a second chance at a normal life filled with love and trust.
Eve contacted Angela Stacey and Marie Stacey of the Little Pod Foundation in Playa Flamenca in the hope people would be able to help by either funding or re-homing some of these dogs. Angela and Marie agreed to help with some funding and the caring of the dogs and immediately put requests of more help out on the internet via their website and facebook page.
Marie says ‘If we could save some of the younger dogs it would be a remarkable achievement, but how could we rescue some of the dogs and leave the others behind knowing their only fate was death? It was so daunting to think 72 dogs needed to be rescued but we had no idea how it was going to be possible.’
Other friends of Eve including Mandy, Pat, Daniel, Chantelle, Angie, Phil, Val and Tony also offered to help with the caring of the dogs. Messages soon came in from Spanish Stray Dogs and APAPA in Southern Spain advising they would try to help by taking some of the dogs. Another few volunteers offered to help and an Association in Germany offered to take 10 more of the dogs. ‘Suddenly the realisation was sinking in that we could be able to save ALL 72 dogs. Everyone went to sleep that night thinking 53 dogs out of 72 could be saved and it all became less daunting. You quietly think to yourself we could actually save all 72 dogs but you dare not say this out loud.’
Then to the amazement of all involved a message was received from a lady named Shannon Keith at the Beagle Freedom Project in America advising she would take all 72 dogs. ‘Nobody could really believe it. In less than 24 hours we had received offers of help for all 72 beagles. When you to start to think about the logistics and the cost involved it is so over whelming but we all knew we would do everything in our powers to help every single one of these dogs.’
Over the next few hours we received the following information about the dogs:
There is 12 Beagles that are 1 to 1 & 1/2 years old - These have NOT been tested on. There is 60 Beagles that are 4 years old and all HAVE been tested on. All 72 dogs have received vaccinations, rabies injections and microchips. Due to the laboratory rules photos could not be obtained and we were still unsure of each dogs health and condition. The laboratory advised they would help with funding for the re-homing of any of the dogs within Spain but not abroad. We had offers of homes in Spain for up to 40 beagles but obviously it would be better for these dogs to go to a specialist Association like the Beagle Freedom Project who have the experience of dealing with these dogs. The Beagle Freedom advised they would pay for their flights and to our delight the laboratory covered the extra cost of their travelling crates.
After requesting more information Eve was advised that all 72 beagles were male and un-neutered, this was another cost that would have to be covered. The 12 younger dogs are healthy and have not been used for testing, the 60 older dogs have had tests done on them but none of the dogs carry anything contagious to animals or humans, these dogs have been used for human medical research but at this moment in time the dogs are all healthy and they do not foresee any adverse long term effects. The dogs have been kept singly in cages but with possibly 10 in a room.
We contacted the laboratory to advise them we had offers of help for ALL 72 dogs. They then advised us that they had re-homed 24 of the dogs directly. Knowing 24 dogs had already been rescued and were free was a major step forward and we were still hoping to save the remaining 48. The days passed by, requests of help were still circulating the internet for bedding, blankets, food and the deadline for the dogs was drawing closer. Over the following days Eve and Teresa in Madrid worked endlessly to make the logistical arrangements for the release of the beagles, their transport, their temporary home and their flights to Los Angeles. Eve had offered up her own home and kennels to keep the dogs safe until they could be flown to L.A where the Beagle Freedom Project would meet them off the plane. On the 11th November 7 more dogs were released from the laboratory and were on their way to Phil Wren from APAPA in Ayamonte, Spain. We were told the remaining 41 beagles in the laboratory would be released that weekend to the care of Eve. The days passed by slowly but then we all received the wonderful news that 20 beagles would be released on Tuesday 15th November with the remaining 21 following on Wednesday 16th November. It was still so surreal to think that in the coming days we would have 41 beagles requiring our love and attention while they start their rehabilitation and new lives. We didn’t know what these dogs had been through, what condition they were in or how they would cope with their new environment.
With the hard work and help of Teresa at AAH Veterinarian Services the first 20 dogs arrived healthy but were terrified. You could see the unknowing of what was happening to them in their eyes. The sign of the abuse they have been through is clear to see. They all have terrible scars on their paws from needles being constantly inserted and they all have very bad teeth. They had no idea what to do outside of a cage. They had never felt the ground below their feet and were reluctant to put their feet down on the new textures. They had never been in the open air or felt the warmth and love from a human being. But they were not underweight and were not hungry. Traveldog.es had done a wonderful job transporting them, the care and attention they paid to the dogs was lovely to see. After a few hours the majority of the dogs started to settle down. There were 3 dogs completely terrified and they went to stay in the house with Eve and Graham while the others went to rest in their kennels. A few lessons were learned quickly and on the second day with the arrival of the last 21 dogs it was a lot easier. The dogs settled in very quickly with the help of the previous dogs but there was 1 dog that was our most frightened. When you opened his cage he just held his paw up and looked away from you. To witness this act of behaviour was heart breaking. He wouldn’t come out of his cage for the first 3 days unless he was picked up. Out in the open he would freeze with fright of not knowing what to do or what was going to happen to him.
After all the dogs had arrived we did a quick head count and each time we could only count 40. We thought one had been left behind but after speaking with the laboratory we were told they had re-homed an extra dog so we should only have 40. So finally all 72 dogs were free. They would never have to endure any more pain or suffering and they would never see the walls of a laboratory or feel the dread of knowing it is testing day again.
Angela of LPF spent the whole week with Eve and Graham loving and caring for the beagles. ‘Over the past week the dogs have improved in leaps and bounds. They are all eating well. They are all happy to play and run around in the secure grounds. Even our most frightened boy is now out and mixing with the other dogs although he is still very nervous when people are around.’
On the 22nd November all 40 beagles left us and travelled up to Madrid Airport. From there they flew directly to Los Angeles in America where they were met by Shannon Keith and her team of volunteers. Andy Baker from Spanish Stray Dogs also travelled to LA with the dogs. They all arrived well and safely, some are in foster homes while others have already been re-homed with their new permanent families.
Marie from LPF says ‘I got to spend the most amazing 4 days with these dogs. They are a lovely breed and at no point showed any signs of aggression to anybody. We are told this is why laboratories use beagles as they are very placid. For their entire lives they have just been known as a number. We didn’t want them to leave Spain for their new lives as a number so we named each one after a male movie star. They have made so much progress and day by day will continue to do so. Everybody has worked so hard to save these dogs from certain death. We would like to thank everybody who has been involved or has supported the efforts of Eve Allen and Little Pod Foundation to get these dog freed and on their way to America. It has been the most wonderful week, tears of happiness and sadness have been shed and there were more tears when it was time to say goodbye to them. We know they all have wonderful lives ahead of them. I think it’s safe to say we would all do it again without hesitation.’
All photos of this remarkable rescue can be viewed at www.facebook.com/littlepodfoundation