Prince Harry and Meghan have adopted one of 4,000 beagles that were rescued from an animal testing center in the US.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have taken in a seven-year-old dog named Mamma Mia.
The dog is now living with Harry and Meghan and their children Archie and Lilibet at their $14m, a seven-acre mansion in Montecito, California.
The couple already has a pet beagle – who is named Guy – and a Labrador named Pula. The family also has chickens, which were allegedly rescued from a factory farm.
Mamma Mia was one of 4,000 that had been bred at the Envigo breeding and research facility in Virginia.
The dogs were bred so they could be sold for use in pharmaceutical and biotech research.
Several inspections of the Envigo facility over the past two years found dozens of violations of US federal regulations.
The animals were rescued in July and taken in by organizations including the Beagle Freedom Project, which looked after 25 of the dogs.
Shannon Keith, an animal rights attorney who runs the project, told the LA Times: ‘The duchess called me personally.’
She added: ‘She calls on my cell with no Caller ID and says, ‘Hey Shannon, this is Meghan.’
Ms. Keith said they talked for 30 minutes and she wondered if it was Megan Fox, but it was indeed the Duchess of Sussex.
Meghan and Harry are said to have made an after-hours visit and played with Mia, who had been brought there with eight of her newborn puppies.
Ms Keith told the Los Angeles Times: ‘The duchess is holding Mia and was like, ‘We’re adopting her.»
‘She was like, ‘No, we don’t want a Christmas puppy. We want ones we can help who are older.»’
Prince Harry and Meghan have adopted one of 4,000 beagles that were rescued from an animal testing centre in the US
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have taken in a seven-year-old dog named Mamma Mia (pictured above with some of her puppies
Photos show Mia her with her offspring.
Animal-lover Meghan has adopted a number of rescue dogs over the past few years and brought her American rescue beagle Guy to the UK when she married Harry.
The former actress chose animal welfare charity Mayhew as one of her first patronages.
When she moved to England to be with Harry she had to leave Bogart – a Labrador-shepherd mix – in the US.
Meghan has previously said the pair of rescue dogs ‘mean the absolute world’ to her and has referred to them as ‘my loves’ and ‘my boys’.
Guy and Bogart regularly featured on her Instagram account, with Guy even appearing in a patriotic knitted Union flag jumper.
Meghan often used the ‘£adoptdontshop’ hashtag in her Instagram posts.
It was American comedian and chat show host Ellen DeGeneres who convinced Meghan to adopt Bogart, her first pet, after she bumped into her in a shelter.
The Queen is the royal best known for her love of dogs.
In their engagement interview in 2017, Harry revealed the Queen’s corgis and dorgis took to Meghan ‘straight away’.
Meghan and Harry are said to have made an after-hours visit and played with Mia, who had been brought there with eight of her newborn puppies
The animals were rescued in July and taken in by organisations including the Beagle Freedom Project, who looked after 25 of the dogs. Above: Mia with her puppies
He said: ‘And the corgis took to you straight away.
‘I’ve spent the last 33 years being barked at; this one walks in, absolutely nothing…’
Describing the moment, Meghan said: ‘Just laying on my feet during tea, it was very sweet.’
And Harry added: ‘…just wagging tails and I was just like argh.’
When officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture made an inspection of Envigo last year, they found a female beagle whose paw had been trapped in loose flooring for so long that she was suffering from dehydration, according to court documents.
Employees at the facility admitted to inspectors they did not know how long she had been stuck.
Another inspection found that nine injured beagles were euthanized instead of being provided with veterinary care.
On a later inspection it was found that many of the 196 beagles who had actually needed to be put down were not anesthetized before having a deadly injection straight into their heart muscle.
Photos taken earlier this year showed some of the rescued dogs on their way to Homeward Trails Animal Rescue
Further images showed the dogs looking happy after being rescued from the Envigo facility
Throughout the inspections over the past two years, officials found instances of neglect and mistreatment, from malnourished dogs to sick and injured ones.
Feces and food waste was allowed to pile up in cages where the dogs were kept, according to court documents.
On May 18, the USDA inspector general and other law enforcement agencies executed a federal search warrant of the facility and seized 145 dogs and puppies which vets deemed to be in ‘acute distress.’
The following day, authorities filed a complaint in a federal court in the Western District of Virginia.
The couple already have a pet beagle – who is named Guy – and a Labrador named Pula. Above: Guy is seen sleeping behind Meghan in a photo that was taken last year
The complaint stated that more than 300 puppies had died in the facility between January and July last year.
The company website claimed that they breed ‘healthy, well-socialized animals’ and that it holds a license issued by the USDA to breed and sell the dogs.
Parent company Inotiv, which bought Envigo in November 2021, agreed to the plan to rescue the dogs and said it would shutter the Virginia facility as part of a restructuring effort.
In late July, a federal judge approved a plan to rescue the beagles.
They were transferred to the Humane Society of the United States, before being moved to shelters or groups such as the Beagle Freedom Project.
The organisation took in 25 of the beagles.