NEW JERSEY, USA — New Jersey now has a First Dog among its ranks. Morty the puppy joined his new family in the state last week, according to a spokesperson from the DMV nonprofit Homeward Trails.
Gov. Phil Murphy, along with Virginia native and First Lady of New Jersey, Tammy and their four children all welcomed the pup.
Morty was ultimately one of 4,000 beagles rescued from a Cumberland, Virginia laboratory that functioned as a mass breeding facility, which allegedly performed unnecessarily painful medical experiments on dogs and puppies, including euthanasia without sedatives.
WUSA9 first reported on the allegations against the Envigo breeding and research facility on April 1. The company was contracted to breed dogs for the purpose of research and scientific experiments - regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
A senior U.S. District Court Judge Norman K. Moon requested in early July that 4,000 beagles be removed from Envigo and put up for adoption. According to court documents, Moon required Envigo to pay $100 per dog, and $150 per dog nursing a litter younger than 8 weeks, to help defray the costs to the shelters preparing the dogs for adoption.
Since the dogs were saved, Homeward Trails and other animal rescue groups from around the country have been working hard to find loving homes for the pups and get them the necessary care. Volunteers have already helped socialize some of the dogs with bath times and movie nights.
Homeward Trails says their goal is to get the beagles into a home environment as quickly as possible since up to this point, they haven't known what it's like to have a loving family.
The rescue group took 100 of the dogs to the Richmond area for fostering and adoption. They brought 16 adult beagles and eight puppies to the D.C. metro area.