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Young-Williams Animal Center takes in 20 beagles from Virginia mass-breeding facility

August 10, 2022

Young-Williams Animal Center has accepted 20 dogs removed from a mass-breeding facility in Virginia that received multiple animal welfare violations under federal regulations and is now closed. As part of its largest operation ever, the Humane Society of the United States and shelter partners transported the animals to East Tennessee.

The beagles arrived Tuesday, underwent health evaluations and are being placed in emergency foster homes until the dogs are ready for adoption.

“The dogs made it safely to our shelter and are being paired with fosters, who will provide the extra care and attention they need as they acclimate to life outside of a breeding facility,” says Janet Testerman, CEO of Young-Williams Animal Center. “So many resources are needed to welcome rescues, and we appreciate the community’s commitment to animal welfare at home and across the country. With the assistance of our foster families, we can open up space to care for the animals. As the official shelter for the City of Knoxville and Knox County, we have new arrivals daily.”

The 20 dogs are part of a historic operation for the Humane Society because of its scope and size. The organization is coordinating the removal of more than 4,000 beagles over a 60-day period from the Envigo facility in Cumberland, Virginia, that bred dogs to be sold to laboratories for animal experimentation. Repeated federal inspections revealed that the company violated the Animal Welfare Act, including findings that some dogs had been “euthanized” without first receiving anesthesia, had received inadequate veterinary care and insufficient food and were living in unsanitary conditions.

“It takes a massive network of compassionate, expert shelters and rescues to make an operation of this scale possible,” said Lindsay Hamrick, shelter outreach and engagement director for the Humane Society of the United States. “We are deeply grateful to each organization that is stepping up to find these dogs the loving homes they so deserve.”

As the dogs settle into foster homes, Young-Williams Animal Center asks the community to support the shelter’s efforts by donating. Give online at, in person at either shelter location or mail a check to Young-Williams Animal Center, 3201 Division St., Knoxville, TN 37919.

More than 200 pets are available for adoption, nearly 400 currently are in foster care, and Young-Williams Animal Center receives dozens more each day. Browse the adoptable animals at and meet them in-person at 3201 Division St., or 6400 Kingston Pike.

About Young-Williams Animal Center
The vision of Young-Williams Animal Center is “a home for every pet.” It is the municipal shelter of the City of Knoxville and Knox County, and each year takes in more than 10,000 animals.

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Young-Williams Animal Center serves the needs of lost, unwanted, abandoned and neglected animals. The center’s mission is to lead the community to end pet homelessness, promote animal welfare and enhance the human-animal bond through the shelter and placement of animals, spay/neuter initiatives and public education of companion animal issues. Young-Williams Animal Center reminds pet owners to spay and neuter their pets.

Young-Williams Animal Center’s main facility is located off Sutherland Avenue at 3201 Division Street. Young-Williams Animal Village satellite adoption location and public spay/neuter program is located at 6400 Kingston Pike.

Both locations are open seven days a week from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. The shelter closes from 1-2 p.m. for an hour of quiet time for the animals. For more information about Young-Williams Animal Center, call 865-215-6599 or visit