AWI Joins Forces with Shelters and Rescue Organizations
Hundreds of Animals Rescued from Lab under Investigation for Abuse
UPDATE (November 24, 2010): NC Rescue Animals Still Need Homes
Washington, D.C. -- An enormous victory was achieved for animals this week when nearly 200 dogs and 54 cats were rescued from a North Carolina animal testing facility that closed its doors after an undercover investigation revealed apparent abuse of the animals by workers at the facility. Quick work on the part of the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), in partnership with the Humane Society of the U.S. and more than a dozen animal shelters and rescues (see list below) succeeded in placing all of the rescued animals, offering hope that they will find loving homes and solace after their ordeal.
“This event serves as dramatic testament to what can happen when the humane community comes together to oppose cruelty,” says AWI President, Cathy Liss. “We applaud the dedicated efforts of animal welfare advocates who stepped up to take in these animals, and hope that the exposure of this situation will underscore the need for stricter enforcement to protect animals in research facilities.”
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) conducted the initial investigation  that exposed the apparent cruelty at Professional Laboratory and Research Services, an inconspicuous rural lab funded by large pharmaceutical companies to test insecticides and other chemicals used in companion animal products. For nine months, a PETA investigator worked undercover at the facility, and shot video showing animals in excruciating pain from procedures, as well as employees kicking, throwing, and dragging petrified dogs, violently slamming cats into cages, and screaming obscenities at the animals for showing fear and being uncooperative.
Following its investigation, PETA filed formal complaints with federal and state agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and submitted evidence to the local prosecutor’s office. Soon thereafter, the USDA inspected the facility and instigated a formal investigation. In the meantime, the lab agreed to surrender voluntarily all its dogs and cats, and to cease research at the facility.
The deadline for placing the released animals was Friday, September 17, and AWI was alerted to the need to find shelter for the animals only three days earlier. AWI scrambled to place the hundreds of animals in shelters to avoid the possibility that they would be euthanized.
For several days, AWI staff members frantically worked the phones, calling on its vast network and succeeding in getting all the animals placed. Over a dozen shelters and rescues groups from New Jersey to Florida were enlisted to take them in.
“AWI is extremely grateful to PETA for its initial investigation, to enforcement personnel at the USDA for taking swift action once the situation was revealed, and to the all the animal advocates who worked overtime to get these animals placed in shelters,” added Liss. “Through the actions of many, hundreds of animals were rescued and given the chance to receive the care and compassion all animals deserve.”
If you are interested in contributing towards the care of the rescued dogs and cats, please send a donation to AWI marked “PLRS Rescue” or note this in the “Name and Address of Honoree” box when you contribute online. ALL donations marked for this purpose will be passed on to the animal shelters and rescue organizations that have received the dogs and cats.
Cathy Liss, AWI, (202) 337-2332
 More information, photos and videos on PETA’s investigation of the lab is available online at: http://www.peta.org/features/professional-laboratory-and-research-services.aspx
All photos credited to the Associated Humane Societies of New Jersey.
Animal shelters and/or rescues that have taken in dogs and cats from the NC lab
Associated Humane Societies (NJ) (973) 824-7080
Beagles to the Rescue (VA) (757) 204-4411
Carteret County Humane Society (NC) (252) 247-7744
Elizabeth City SPCA (VA) (757) 344-3033
Guilford County Animal Shelter (NC) (336) 297-5020
In Dogs We Trust (FL) (561) 400-7732
Norfolk SPCA (VA) (757) 622-3319
Triangle Beagle Rescue (NC) firstname.lastname@example.org
Virginia Beach SPCA (VA) (757) 427-0070
Wake County Animal Control/Adopt. Ctr. (NC) (919) 212-7387
Wake County SPCA (NC) (919) 772-2326
Washington Animal Rescue League (DC) (202) 726-2556