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Shelters Try to Find Homes for 40 Beagles

Protest: After being targeted by animal-rights activists, a New Jersey laboratory released the dogs for adoption.


EATONTOWN, N.J. — No room for 101 Dalmatians? How about 40 beagles--or maybe just one?

Nine shelters are looking for homes for the dogs, handed over for adoption by a laboratory that was targeted by animal-rights activists, including actress Kim Basinger, who claimed the dogs' legs were to be broken for osteoporosis research.

"We want them to have a good life, to be a family member, to be loved," said Ursula Goetz, executive director of the Monmouth County SPCA in Eatontown, where eight beagles were brought last Tuesday.

The 40 beagles, all in good health and 2 years old or younger, were given to the American Humane Assn. It is distributing them to the shelters, which promised to spay and care for the dogs until homes are found.

The dogs were given to the AHA by Huntingdon Life Sciences Inc., where an animal rights worker secretly videotaped alleged mistreatment of research animals. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals complained to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Basinger tried unsuccessfully to adopt the dogs.

The lab filed suit against PETA, claiming that its investigator illegally taped co-workers and disseminated trade secrets.

Alan Staple, president of the laboratory in East Millstone, said that the dogs had been given an experimental compound intended to strengthen osteoporosis patients' bones.

The drug maker, Yamanouchi Pharmaceutical Co. of Japan, canceled the safety trial, which is the last step before testing in humans.

"They had a lot of threatening phone calls to their offices around the world," he said.

The laboratory has denied killing beagles or selling them to other researchers, but it never directly responded to allegations that the dogs' legs would have been broken if the research project had continued.

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