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North Carolina animal testing facility surrenders animals after PETA's release of undercover video

PetaVid1 A North Carolina lab has stopped doing research and is surrendering all of its animals a week after an undercover video showed what activists allege were workers cruelly treating dogs, cats and rabbits, federal regulators said Wednesday.

U.S. Department of Agriculture spokesman Dave Sacks said officials are trying to find new homes for more than 200 animals that were at Professional Laboratory and Research Services Inc. He said it was the company's decision to give them up and stop research. The USDA inspected the site this week and has started a formal investigation.

The developments come after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals released a video of conditions at the lab. PETA contends that workers violently handled the animals and violated laws.

"I think it's imperative that all the animals go to good homes," said Kathy Guillermo, vice president of laboratory investigations at PETA. "They've suffered enough. This is a chance for them to know for the first time in their lives some joy and some peace."

The company's phone number at the lab in Corapeake, near the Virginia border, was disconnected Wednesday. Company president Helen Sonenshine did not immediately return a call seeking comment but previously said she was disgusted and appalled by the video.

PETAVid2 The lab was hired by pharmaceutical firms to test animal care products such as flea preventatives. USDA inspection reports show no sign of violations before the PETA video.

One scene of the video, according to PETA's account, shows an employee purposely letting a cat grasp a fence with its claw before yanking it in an apparent attempt to rip off its nails.

Another clip shows workers trying to remove a tooth from a dog while acknowledging that the sedation drug expired years ago and may not be working. PETA contends that workers also sprayed the animals with harsh chemicals, lifted rabbits by their ears and puppies by their throats, and violently threw cats into their cages.

PETA referred videos, photos and a narrative to the local prosecutor, who said he is reviewing the matter.

European Union strengthens its regulations on animal testing
Judge bars construction of controversial monkey-breeding facility in Puerto Rico

-- Mike Baker, Associated Press

Photos: Screen grabs from PETA's undercover video, which is available for viewing at PETA.org. (Warning: It contains graphic imagery.)

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Is she the same Helen Sonenshine whose husband is a professor emeritus at Old Dominion University and a renowned expert on ticks?


I would be very interested in knowing if the owners of this lab ever owned a contract research lab previously -- especially if it was forced to close due to similar allegations.

Where do all these cruel people come from? Do they take these jobs specifically to hurt animals? My god, so many people need serious psychiatric intervention.

Just curious - will any of the employees be charged with animal abuse?

If only PETA would stick to doing things like this, and stop the foolish publicity-for-publicity's-sake stunts, maybe they could do some good.

And note to L.A. Unleashed, and Mr. Baker, the AP author of this piece: when your story is accompanied by pictures of animal cruelty, it is Orwellian and astonishingly dishonest to say the video shows "what activists allege were workers cruelly treating dogs, cats and rabbits..." You have a PHOTOGRAPH of someone holding a dog in a painful and torturous way IN the story. This has nothing to do with "activists" or "allegations." Any normal person with even one functioning eye can see that this is not "alleged" cruelty, it's cruelty.

It's time to man up, tell the truth, and earn some respect.

I've been in this place before. Not by choice. You would never have any idea there was anything like this in the small town. I lived in Corapeake and replied to a job ad looking for weekend help. I had no clue it was an animal testing facility. There were no signs on the buliding and even my caller ID only stated 'Professional Inc.' There were several dogs sharing small crates, urine everywhere and three deceased dogs in the hallway covered up with sheets. The employees seemed very cold hearted and disconneted from the animals. I did not witness any mistreatment of any animals while I was there, but I'm honestly not surprised to hear about this. I'm happy to know they are being shut down.


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