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Laboratory Beagle Adoption Division - FAQ


Why does CBR-East have a special division for these beagles?


Before the inception of CBR-East, co-founders Pattie Scully and Carolyn Sterner had decided that any rescue that they would be involved with had to be willing to work with research laboratories.  During her experiences volunteering for beagle rescues, Carolyn had worked on establishing a positive relationship with one research facility beginning in 2003, and it resulted in the first-of-its kind "release to rescue" for that particular laboratory.  We never imagined how things would progress, but it was always a hope that other laboratories would follow suit and take a chance on rewarding their laboratory animals, as well as their animal care staff (quite a morale boost to see these pups adopted!)  The first intake of 11 laboratory beagles in late Summer 2006 launched a new division devoted to this area of need. It continues to grow with a record number of facilities inquiring and releasing to us ever since! As of Summer 2010, we have accepted over 100 retirees from 9 different research facilities, with additional requests coming in.  We call our little heroes "laboratory retirees."



I've heard horror stories and seen disturbing videos from laboratories.  How and why can you work with these places?


Adopted laboratory retiree, Hal with Emily 

For one thing, CBR-East does not work with such facilities.  From our experiences, this type of treatment is not the norm.  CBR-East works only with reputable research facilities.  Please note that dogs are a regulated species under the federal Animal Welfare Act, and laboratories which use beagles in research are inspected by the USDA.  Reputable laboratories also follow additional safeguards and protections by following the PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, guidelines from the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC), and their own IACUC policies for ensuring the humane care of laboratory animals.   The term "humane" care brings up an interesting debate, but one in which CBR-East will not get involved.  Research using animals is currently legal, protected and required by the federal government.  CBR-East will continue to work with reputable AAALAC accredited laboratories for as long as this is the case.


CBR-East does not play into hype, misinformation, overdramatization, etc., and does not have any agenda other than helping laboratory beagles in a positive and cooperative manner.  It is possible to do so, and we have proven that.


**CBR-East honors and maintains the confidentiality of the laboratories with which it works.**



I never knew that animal research was being done and that beagles were often used.  Where can I learn more information?


You will find a lot of information out there about this topic.  We feel the most factual, hype-free information is available here.  Thank you to Johns Hopkins University for this information.



I think animal research is wrong and want to take action to stop it.  Is CBR-East the right group for me?

Honestly, no, CBR-East is probably not the right group for you.  CBR-East is not an animal rights group.  We do not (and will not) protest research facilities or file law suits, just as we do not do so with puppymills or petstores.  We do not have an "advocacy" group within our organization and have no plans to form one.  If you disagree with animal research, then EDUCATE YOURSELF with factual information and learn about and understand the legislation that requires it. Animal research is a sensitive and personal topic for many people. Learn about the topic and consider working with a legislative group that approaches the topic in a manner that matches your own personal views. 

If you are someone who just wants to help these wonderful beagles after they are released for adoption, then CBR-East might be the right group for you.

What is Cascade Beagle Rescue's position on the use of animals in biomedical research?


CBR-E adopted laboratory retiree, Joe Cool living an incredibly spoiled and comfortable retirement!

CBR-East acknowledges the current federal requirements regarding the use of animals (including beagles) in biomedical research.  CBR-East encourages the search for alternatives so that beagles will no longer be used. Until such alternatives are identified and beagles are no longer used in research, CBR-East will continue to develop positive relationships with AAALAC accredited institutions/facilities and assist with the adoptions of voluntarily released healthy, adoptable beagles.



Why rescue these beagles when there are others in shelters that need rescuing?


CBR-East views laboratory beagles as true rescue beagles since these beagles share the same fate as those in kill shelters: euthanasia.  No beagle deserves such a fate when it is an adoptable dog.  Whether we assist the facility with adoptions or not, the research will continue.  We've just been fortunate enough to be given the chance to change the dogs' fate - from death, to life.


CBR-East has made strides in this area, and because of these wonderful opportunities and networking, we are being trusted.  For this reason alone, we will continue to accept laboratory beagles.  This does not change our relationships and mission with local shelters, or with those in the Mid-West and South. We may at times prioritize our laboratory intakes because whereas shelter dogs have an infinite number of rescues to help them, the laboratory dogs only have CBR-East.



 Why are beagles the most common breed of dog used for research purposes?


It is for the same reasons that they make good pets.  They are small, relatively easy to care for, adaptable, and tend to have wonderful temperaments and dispositions. 

Sam, adopted laboratory retiree seems quite happy to have been given a second chance.  Actually, little John looks pretty happy, too!



Where do laboratories get their beagles?

Jake (formerly Henry), adopted laboratory retiree through BONES, loving life with his new sisters


When a beagle escapes and is lost, one concern that often worries its owner is: "If caught, will my dog end up in a research lab?"  In New Jersey, the answer is definitely not and in all others, the chance is negligible for several reasons. New Jersey passed legislation which forbids research oriented facilities from using "random source" (feral animals, lost pets) from the state of NJ. Other states have stringent laws which make using random source animals very difficult and expensive. There ARE shelters (specifically in Michigan) that will sell shelter dogs to laboratories.  CBR-East does not work with the laboratories doing the type of research that would allow random-source animals to be used. 


Most reputable facilities use only animals which

are specifically raised and bred in clean facilities for research. This eliminates many variables which cannot be accounted for. Animals from other sources are not trained to be in a lab setting and are thus usually not suitable for any research. The beagles that CBR-East obtains have all been purpose-bred.  In other words, they were bred for the specific purpose of being used in research.  They never were someone's former pet.



What is done to the beagles in the laboratory?


This depends on the laboratory, but many (although not all) studies that use beagles are relatively benign.  For example, many vaccinations and dog foods are tested on beagles; so are new drugs.  Beagles are often used in biomedical research for the study of such diseases as diabetes, hypothyroidism, Addison's disease, and cancer, as well as pharmacokinetic studies and those studying new surgical procedures for cardiac and transplant models.



How healthy are these beagles, and do (will) they suffer side effects from the research?


CBR-E adopted laboratory beagle, Petey (formerly Tweety) doing great in his new home!

As with ANY beagle in our rescue (or living creature on this planet!), we cannot make any guarantees about an animal's health.  Dogs get sick.  They get injured.  They develop cancer and chronic medical conditions.  They can develop any number of health issues.  That being said, there is no research to indicate (and we have found this to be consistent with our experiences as well) that laboratory beagles are at any higher rate of developing a health condition as any other beagle.  If there were potential side effects or risks associated with the research with which the beagle was involved, it simply would not be released to us.  We and the facilities want this to be a positive experience for all involved


CBR-East accepts healthy laboratory beagles into the rescue, and any obvious health concerns (e.g,. food allergies) are generally known prior to adoption. At times, we will accept a dog that was "rejected" from studies due to a health concern.  This information is KNOWN, and is treatable and relayed to any potential adopter.


We have personally found that some of our retiree have a slightly higher incidence of developing allergies.  This could be genetic, or could be from overwhelming the immune system of a six year old dog who has lived in a laboratory with grass, pollen, ragweed, fabric softeners, rug deodorizers, etc. Actually, we tend to have more extensive veterinary information on our laboratory beagles than shelter beagles in our rescue because the dogs are meticulously monitored by veterinarians and staff while they are in the laboratory. 


How is a laboratory beagle different from any other beagle in your rescue?


Thomas, a spoiled retired laboratory retiree

Laboratory beagles are somewhat unique in that many of them have never been outside a room in the laboratory.  The breeders do try to breed for good disposition, and many breeders and researchers go out of their way to socialize their dogs to minimize stress for the dogs and handlers. Laboratory beagles, however, have limited experience with everyday things such as outdoors, grass, cars, stairs, running, playing with toys, playing with other dogs, interacting with children, etc. They often have little to no hunting instinct.  Laboratory beagles are not housebroken, although they can learn with consistent training, time and patience.  Some, but not all,  may have difficulties being crate-trained, so other training methods (e.g., the Mark-Out Housetraining System)  may need to be explored.  Our experienced foster homes help train and socialize these dogs while they are in foster care, so the dogs are well on their way to understanding life in the real world by the time they are adopted.  They are often indistinguishable from any other rescue beagle after spending time in foster care.


Can laboratory beagles really adjust to become good housepets?


Charlie Brown, retired laboratory retiree of CBR-East volunteers Tom and Barbara learning how to enjoy a swim in the pool!

In our experiences, laboratory beagles adapt well to new surroundings, but they DO need an understanding adopter to help show them how wonderful the "real world" can be!  We have found them to make amazing housepets, and they are matched with adopters using the same interviews and matching procedures as the other beagles in our rescue.  Each beagle is different.  Some will make great companions for households with children, and some may not.  Some will get along very well with other dogs, and some may not.  The key is to find the right dog for the right adopter!


The most common post-adoption issues that are reported, which may or may not be seen in all of the dogs include: possible housetraining setbacks, cautiousness in new environments, separation anxiety, car sickness, and the development of seasonal or environmental allergies.  We think those are pretty minor when you look at the loving pet you get in return!



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