Local News

Mass animal rescue held at closed lab

Posted September 17, 2010
Updated September 19, 2010

— Three dozen animal groups rescued more than 200 animals from a North Carolina research lab closed after People for Ethical Treatment of Animals released video of alleged animal abuse by lab workers.

The U.S. Humane Society coordinated an 14-hour effort Friday to remove the animals from the closed Professional Laboratory and Research Services Inc. facility in Corapeake.

"The (animal) shelter on the whole East Coast came together," said Mike Williams, with Wake County Animal Care and Control. "No one shelter can absorb that many in one night."

Rescue workers had to follow strict rules once they were inside the lab, said Karen Carlton, Triangle Beagle Rescue of N.C.

Only one group was allowed in at one time, and rescue workers couldn't carry recording or communication devices, such as cell phones or cameras. Lab workers loaded the animals and did little or no talking.

"We are doing the best we can to get the dogs out of there as quickly as possible," Carlton said. "If that means smiling and keeping your mouth shut, that is what we are doing."

The PLRS lab was closed after PETA released undercover video it describes as showing workers cruelly treating dogs, cats and rabbits. The Gates County District Attorney's Office and the federal Department of Agriculture were investigating the case.

PLRS hasn't commented on the closing of the lab, but earlier, president Helen Sonenshine said that the video disgusted and appalled her and that anyone who broke company rules will be fired. Mass animal rescue from closed lab_02 Rescued dogs will be available for adoption

PETA contends that the video depicts animals living in their own excrement, sprayed with harsh chemicals and violently thrown. As edited by PETA, the video shows an employee apparently trying to rip off a cat's claws with a fence and a dog given an expired sedation drug that doesn't work during a tooth removal.

In one scene of PETA's video, a beagle cowers as a person approaches its cage, derisively describes the dog’s condition, snatches it by the neck and says, “They act like they’ve been abused.”

The rescued animals were taken to shelters and foster homes across North Carolina and the East Coast.

The Wake County SPCA took in approximately 30 animals, Triangle Beagle Rescue and the Wake County Animal Shelter took in about 20 each, and the Carteret County Humane Society took in 35.

Over the weekend, Cloud Nine Rescue Flights will fly more than 30 dogs to rescue groups in Florida and New York.

The animals will be kept in foster care and rehabilitated while workers determine which are fit for adoption.

"Whatever has been or not done is in the past," Carlton said. "We have to start fresh with these dogs."


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  • Go Figure Sep 17, 2010

    Three types of humans that I think should not walk this Earth. People who hurt children, animals, and elderly. Disposable.

  • ncteacher22 Sep 17, 2010

    I am so glad there are angels rescuing these poor animals. I can't because of my apartment RULES. I WANT THE NAMES AND ADDRESSES OF THE PEOPLE AT THIS COMPANY PUBLISHED!

  • pallen Sep 17, 2010

    How sad. What cowards - hurting a defenseless animal. How can anyone hurt something or someone that is dependent on them? This still boggles me. They will get what they deserve.

  • Adelinthe Sep 17, 2010

    Those poor animals.

    Why aren't those in the films being prosecuted? This is a felony now in NC, isn't it???

    God bless.


  • beckyfinley Sep 17, 2010

    I'm deeply sad and horrified to see this story, but it is like medicine for my heart to see people like you who care, to be reminded that there are really good people in the world too. Please continue to let us know how to help the dogs and the cats too - I want to do SOMETHING! We need to quickly get all of the animals out of that torture house. Also I agree with so many others - I'd like published the photos, names and addresses of all the sickos who worked in that facility, and I hope they receive the harshest punishment possible!!

  • jscott13 Sep 17, 2010

    As typically happens with this type of story, these animals will all be adopted into loving homes. WRAL...keep animal abuse stories featured on the website. That will help lots of poor animals to be given the care and affection that they deserve.

  • carydoggymom Sep 17, 2010

    To help, go to www.tribeagles.org. Our website gives information on (1) how to apply to adopt a dog and (2) how to make a monetary donation. We will need a great deal of help to take care of the dogs we are rescuing today. And if you're interested in adopting, remember that it will take us a little time to get all the dogs checked out first and given necessary medical treatment. We will have their photos up on the website just as soon as we can! And if you can help in no other way, contact your NC legislative representatives and demand that this state do something to outlaw puppy mills and increase the penalties for animal cruelty!

  • danunger Sep 17, 2010

    To jp11......the problem is that the punishment for abusing animals is not stiff enough. Triple the fines and add MANDATORY jail time, and don't let some ambulance chasing lawyer bargain the "criminals" way out of it.

  • grady565 Sep 17, 2010

    If you are interested in a beagle go to the TriBeagle Rescue website for more information. If you are interested in some of the other dogs and cats email cathy@awionline.org or lucy@awionline.org. They will have a list of the groups who will care for them until they are adopted.

  • rmgirl Sep 17, 2010

    Please publish the information as to how we can go about adopting one of these animals.