Rescue of Corapeake Laboratory Beagles: Five years later
This is a re-posting of an article written in March 2011.
Read some of the individual stories here.
Corapeake Beagles Saved By Triangle Beagle Rescue
A Rescue Tale: 35 Beagles and a Rural North Carolina Laboratory
On September 16, 2010, Triangle Beagle Rescue Applications Coordinator Dan Savarese, was contacted by a group assigned to rescue animals from the PLRS Laboratory in Corapeake, North Carolina, following an undercover PETA investigation. Dan quickly asked for volunteers to accompany him to Corapeake the following day and to foster the dogs. By 9:00 the next morning, with 19 arrangements for foster placement, a group of 15 TBR volunteers, including Karen Carlton, set off to the Corapeake laboratory.
The group assembled for the trip to Corapeake met in Knightdale early Friday morning. I had no idea what we would face after our journey. I thought we would get there, go into the lab, pull as many beagles as we could fit in our vehicles and be on our way to our pre-arranged rendezvous at Sunny Acres Pet Resort in Durham at day’s end. We arrived in the afternoon at 12:30, and found things at a standstill. All the rescue groups involved were kept across the street from the lab in a feed mill parking lot. It was 85 degrees with no shade. We waited and waited. Some of us eventually searched for facilities, which turned out to be five miles away in a 1950s-era gas station with only a men’s restroom. There was no food to be had. We stood, we talked, we met people from the other rescue groups, we rearranged the crate inventory
and we talked on our cell phones. The weekend before the Corapeake rescue, the Triangle Beagle Rescue board of directors asked me to be the PR coordinator. I agreed, thinking I would do a few flyers and keep the Facebook page up to date.
But by the end of that hot Friday afternoon, I was doing phone interviews for Triangle-area news crews and an on-camera interview the following day. Both NBC-17 and WRAL were wonderfully supportive of our efforts to rescue, rehabilitate and find homes for the Corapeake beagles. Mid-afternoon, a woman in charge of animal distribution at the laboratory crossed the street to tell the assembled rescue groups they could only take two vehicles in at a time to pick up the more than 200 animals that would be leaving the closed lab that day. We were
instructed not to exit our vehicles, take pictures, talk on cell phones or speak to the lab staff. We began to suspect how long this might take. About 30 minutes later, the first beagles emerged from the building. All of the rescue workers cheered from across the street, standing on tiptoe to get a better look at the dogs. Some of the dogs dropped to their bellies and crawled as soon as they hit the unfamiliar surface of the parking lot; they looked shy and confused.
About 4:30 p.m., it was our group’s turn to enter the facility. After the first two cars were filled, the Wake County SPCA offered to transport our
animals in their trailer, which saved us from making numerous trips across the street. The process proceeded at a snail’s pace. We sent dogs on their way as soon as they were transferred into vehicles. The last few of us left at 7:30 p.m. Many of the dogs were sick on
the long journey. They smelled of urine and feces and it seemed like Route 158 was the longest, darkest, most winding highway in all of North Carolina that evening. My group arrived at Sunny Acres Pet Resort in Durham at 11:45 p.m. Owners Donna and Don Easterlin and their staff were prepared and ready to help. Some dogs went home with their foster families that night, and Sunny Acres hosted the 22 remaining dogs overnight. The following day they bathed and prepared the dogs for the next part of their journey.
On Saturday, 16 dogs were flown to a rescue group in West Palm Beach, Florida by Cloud Nine Flight Rescue of Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The remaining six were picked up by their fosters. My first Corapeake foster, a lemon beagle named Buffy the Vampire Slayer, got her first bath about 1:00 a.m. Saturday morning. She was shy, unable to walk up and down stairs and paced around in circles for most of the first few
days, as did many of the Corapeake beagles. She was adorable and sweet and, surprisingly, it didn’t take long for her to start playing with her foster sisters. Most of the beagles were shy and skittish, in varying degrees. The two I fostered, Cindy Lou Who and Buffy, were less shy and quicker to trust humans than some of the others. The males seemed to be in better emotional shape than the females. There were house training issues and escape issues with the dogs, so TBR adopted a set of safety guidelines for fosters and adopters, issued harnesses and leash couplers and provided training support with a behaviorist for the remaining dogs.
In addition to transporting 35 beagles and finding fosters for 19 of them in two days, a Triangle Beagle Rescue Web-based plea raised $10,000 to cover the rescue expense in six weeks. At the time of this article, four Corapeake beagles are still available for adoption: Gilligan, Joey, Izzy and Cindy Lou Who.