From Rags to Riches

Maddie Ng, Writer

Recently a beagle named Mamma Mia became the newest member of the royal family of Sussex. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle adopted the 7-year-old beagle mom from the Beagle Freedom Project rescue facility in San Fernando Valley. Mamma Mia, along with more than 4,000 other beagles, was rescued from Envigo RMS LLC in Cumberland, Virginia. The facility, which breeds dogs to sell for laboratory testing, has been shut down for conditions far below the minimum standards of the Animal Welfare Act. The complaint detailed dogs with severe dental disease, bones that were ‘extremely prominent,’ and oozing infections. Officials found that 85 nursing dogs and nearly 500 puppies were eating food that was “wet caked and/or moldy,” and sometimes “with large numbers of maggots.” Officials also found hundreds of puppies dead at the facility, after having been euthanized with an intracardiac injection. 

Mia and her eight puppies were taken in, along with 25 other dogs rescued from Envigo. Shannon Keith, who runs the organization, says she was called ‘out of the blue’ by Meghan, who had supported the organization for some time. Ms. Keith told her that the organization was about to receive a mother and her litter, Meghan was immediately interested in the mother. She said that she and Prince Harry weren’t looking for a ‘Christmas puppy’ and wanted to adopt an older dog that needed their attention the most. 

After she was rescued from Envigo, a volunteer brought her a toy fox. She immediately loved it, playing with it for the rest of the trip. Before Meghan and Harry left with her for their new California home, she rummaged through the toy bin to find that very same fox. 

“After a life spent being forced to give birth to litter after litter of puppies, I can think of no more fitting ‘happily ever after’ than being adopted by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex,” said Kitty Block, president, and chief executive of the Humane Society of the United States.