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Company specializing in animal breeding and testing admits to charges related to animal welfare and pollution

Envigo RMS LLC agrees to pay over $35 million, a historic fine for an animal welfare violation.



Envigo RMS LLC has admitted to conspiring to knowingly violate the Animal Welfare Act, while Envigo Global Services Inc. has pleaded guilty to conspiring to knowingly violate the Clean Water Act, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These pleas are in connection with a dog breeding facility in Cumberland County, Virginia, where the Justice Department successfully obtained the surrender of over 4,000 beagles in 2022.


Reported May 2022, EPA said in a press release “the United States filed suit against Envigo RMS, alleging that the company was failing to provide humane care and treatment to the thousands of beagles at the company’s Cumberland facility. Specifically, the complaint alleged that Envigo RMS was failing to meet the AWA’s minimum standards for handling, housing, feeding, watering, sanitation and adequate veterinary care, among other requirements."


They also went on to say,"Based on past violations identified during inspections by the Department of Agriculture and evidence of extensive, ongoing AWA violations obtained during a multiday criminal search warrant executed at the Cumberland facility beginning on May 18, the Justice Department moved for a temporary restraining order that the federal court granted on May 21 to ensure the health and welfare of the beagles at the Cumberland facility.”


As part of the settlement, Inotiv, the parent company of Envigo RMS and Envigo Global Services, will ensure payments exceeding $35 million, adhere to enhanced animal care standards, and be subject to a compliance monitor. This resolution represents the largest fine ever imposed in a case involving the Animal Welfare Act.


“Envigo compounded the heartbreaking nature of its animal welfare crimes by committing egregious Clean Water Act violations that undermined public health and the wellbeing of the animals in their care,” said David M. Uhlmann, Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Everyone victimized in this precedent-setting animal welfare case deserved better: the workers, the beagles, the environment and the community. Envigo deserves every dollar of its record fine.”


“Our nation’s animal welfare and clean water laws exist to prevent suffering and harm,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “That’s why we secured the transfer of thousands of beagles from Envigo’s Cumberland facility into adoption, and that’s why today’s plea agreement is so significant. The plea agreement includes the largest ever fine in an animal welfare case as well as heightened standards of care for facilities across the country.”


“Envigo promoted a business culture that prioritized profit and convenience over following the law. This callous approach led to dire consequences: the inhumane treatment of animals and the contamination of our waterway,” said United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh. “The historic monetary penalties and significant compliance measures as part of these guilty pleas send a clear message: every company, in every industry, must have compliance and corporate responsibility as a critical part of their business model.”


According to legal records, Envigo RMS engaged in a conspiracy to deliberately breach the Animal Welfare Act by neglecting to provide adequate veterinary care, sufficient staffing, and safe living conditions for dogs residing at the Cumberland County facility.


Furthermore, Envigo Global Services conspired to knowingly violate the Clean Water Act by failing to effectively operate and maintain the wastewater treatment plant at the same facility. This resulted in the exposure of both facility workers and dogs to inadequately treated wastewater contaminated with fecal matter, which was also discharged into a nearby waterway.


Additionally, the investigation into the environmental violations revealed that the dogs were provided with contaminated well water for drinking purposes and that this water was also used to power wash kennels. Consequently, this created an elevated risk of disease.


Under the conditions of the plea agreement, the entities will undergo a period of probation lasting between three and five years. Additionally, they will be required to pay a total criminal fine of $22 million, with each violation amounting to $11 million.


Furthermore, the entities will provide financial support to various organizations involved in the investigation. Specifically, they will contribute approximately $1.1 million to the Virginia Animal Fighting Task Force and approximately $1.9 million to the Humane Society of the United States for their direct assistance during the investigation.


Moreover, an additional $3.5 million will be allocated to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. This funding will be utilized to benefit and restore the environment and ecosystems in Cumberland County. A minimum of $500,000 from this amount will be dedicated to the acquisition of riparian wetland or riparian land situated in or near Cumberland.


To ensure the improvement of their facilities and personnel, the entities will allocate at least $7 million. This investment will go beyond the requirements set forth by the Animal Welfare Act.


Lastly, the entities will bear the financial responsibility for a compliance monitor. This monitor will oversee their adherence to the enhanced animal welfare standards, as well as compliance with the Animal Welfare Act, the Clean Water Act, a nationwide compliance plan, and any additional terms outlined in the agreements and probation.



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