Success! ‘Beagle Bill’ Will Give Former Lab Animals a Chance at Adoption

What happens to laboratory dogs and cats once they’re no longer needed for research? You might assume that these animals could be put up for adoption — but that wasn’t the case in Maryland until last week.

A little over a year ago, state legislation ensuring that dogs and cats used in research could be adopted into a forever home was defeated for the second time, due to opposition from Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland.

When student members of the Johns Hopkins University Pet and Animal Welfare Society heard about this, they knew they had to take action. They decided to create a Care2 petition urging the Maryland General Assembly to reverse their decision and pass the Humane Adoption of Companion Animals in Research Act. 

The legislation is also known as the “Beagle Bill,” since beagles are the most common breed of dog used in research.

The bill has no effect on the research itself; it simply means that once these animals are no longer needed in the laboratory, they can be given to animal rescue organizations which will find loving homes for them.


Photo Credit: ASPCA

The students partnered with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), and by March 2017 they had garnered over 35,000 signatures on their Care2 petition

Students delivered these signatures in person during lobby meetings with Maryland legislators — and even brought a beagle with them! 

A Care2 Success! 

A year later, 118,873 Care2 members  have signed the petition — and on April 24, Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan signed the Beagle Bill, HB 528/SB 420, into law.

Everyone who signed this important petition deserves a huge shout-out for ensuring that dogs and cats used in research have a chance to become beloved pets. And congratulations to the students at Johns Hopkins University who kept working for over a year to see that laboratory animals can be adopted out.

Forty-nine dogs were used in research at Hopkins in 2017, compared to 31 in 2016. That’s a significant decline from the 493 dogs used in 2005.

These numbers reflect the growing trend of moving away from using animals in research, although only six other states have passed legislation similar to the Beagle Bill.

Still, even while the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require animal testing, many cosmetic companies continue to test their products on animals.

Take Action!

If you believe animal testing is wrong, you can take action by signing this Care2 petition calling for the passage of the Humane Cosmetics Act. This legislation would make it illegal to carry out animal testing for cosmetics in the U.S. and ban the import of products that have been tested on animals in other countries.

Are you inspired by the success of the Beagle Ban petition? If so, you can create your own petition. These guidelines will help you get started and soon members of the Care2 community will be signing up to support you.


Photo Credit: ASPCA


Marie W
Marie W4 months ago

thanks for sharing

Peggy B
Peggy B4 months ago


JoAnn Paris
JoAnn Paris5 months ago

Thank you for this very interesting article.

Paula A
Paula A5 months ago

Thanks for the update

Carole R
Carole R5 months ago

Good job, Beagle Bill. These poor animals have suffered enough.

michela c
michela c5 months ago

Better than never, thank you! NO animal testing!

hELEN h5 months ago


Renata B
Renata B5 months ago

I signed the petition in July 2014!!! Very long work for these people: Thank you so much for your perseverance.

Renata B
Renata B5 months ago

This is the very least that can be done for them: very well done and congratulations to those who worked for this achievement. I hope that the day when all tests on animals are banned comes soon.

Cindy S
Cindy Smith9 months ago

poor animals in labs!!!!!!!!!