Did you know that in most states animal research subjects are killed after their usefulness to researchers is over? The state of Maryland just joined only six other U.S. states that have laws requiring that these animals are offered for adoption when they are no longer needed for research. Delaware is expected to join those states very soon.
Beagles are the most commonly used dogs by researchers (image)
Including Maryland and Delaware, that makes 8 states that require 'adoptable' dogs and cats to be offered for adoption after they finish their service to researchers. The other states are Minnesota, Connecticut, Nevada, California, Illinois and New York, which have had these laws since 2014. The laws are referred to colloquially as 'Beagle Freedom Acts' because Beagles are the dogs most tested due to their short stature and docile personalities. Most states have no regulations for animal use for experimental purposes.
Whether they are Beagles, other dog breeds, or cats, the range of research performed on these animals is wide and the animals considered 'suitable for adoption' will, nevertheless, be damaged. Seventy-five percent of dog and cats used for research are used for pharmacological studies.
Most research animals have never been outside of a lab. They may have never been outdoors, seen the sun, walked on grass, gone for a walk, or even made it very far from their crates. They have not established relationships with people as their owners and protectors. Some animals may be deaf or have had their vocal folds removed so that they can't bark. They will be fearful of a new environment.
Research cat at the University of Texas (image)
These are things you should know if you are considering adopting a research pet. You should also know that some damage to the pets does not show up immediately. Some pets will have shortened life spans resulting from the experiments they were in, and you won't know about that until the symptoms appear later in the pet's life.
Owners of research dogs or cats need tremendous patience and at least the same amount of love and kindness for these pets. If you decide you would like to adopt a research animal or more than one research animals (maybe cage-mates), you can contact the medical research labs in one of the above states to learn where you can adopt these animals.
You can also contact the national Humane Society or local adoption centers to find out where research dogs and cats can be found in your area.
A few words of warning: Not all animal adoption agencies will tell you where their adoptees come from. You can insist on knowing, but it's up to them if they want to disclose it or not. That's why it may be best to contact the original source of the animals to find out where their research dogs and cats are sent. (see Adopting Cats and Dogs from Research Facilities)
Good luck to you and those in need that you welcome into your homes and hearts.