Wyoming’s Kindness Ranch Rescues New Batch Of Beagles; Effort Expands To China Meat Market

The Kindness Ranch near Hartville has rescued another batch of lab-testing beagles from Kansas City. They also had their first international save when they rescued four beagles from an underground meat market in China.

Jen Kocher

October 16, 20234 min read

Kindness Ranch in Wyoming rescued 150 beagles from being lab testing animals earlier this year and continues to bring in animals for rehabilitation and adoption.
Kindness Ranch in Wyoming rescued 150 beagles from being lab testing animals earlier this year and continues to bring in animals for rehabilitation and adoption. (Courtesy Kindness Ranch)

It is a bittersweet feeling to see a rescued beagle run free for the first time. On one hand, it’s rewarding to see the transformation from “research subject” to “real dog,” but hard not to think about what the animal has been denied.

For John Ramer, executive director at Kindness Ranch Animal Sanctuary, and his staff, the feeling never changes as they welcomed another nine former research beagles from a facility in Kansas City.

The sprawling 1,000-acre animal sanctuary near Hartville in southeast Wyoming is the only facility of its kind to take in only former test animals from medical labs and clinical testing facilities throughout the nation.

Ramer has been involved with several national animal saves, including 150 of the 4,000 beagles rescued from the Envigo breeding and research facility in Virginia last fall, for which Ramer and Kindness Ranch earned special recognition from the Virginia State Senate.

Most recently, Ramer and the team had their first international save when it rescued four beagles from an underground meat market in China. This week, they just saved two more beagles from China as part of their ongoing rescue efforts.

Just like the other saves, these nine new male and female beagles just under a year old will be rehabilitated for adoption. Now the new pups are in an intake area consisting of two rows of large kennels, where they’ll stay for about 10 to 14 days while they adjust to their new surroundings.

Rescue Is Only The Beginning

Many of the new arrivals also require specialized medical care as well as health checkups, vaccines and being spayed or neutered.

It’s an expensive endeavor, Ramer said, with each dog costing the facility about $1000, including caregiver wages.

Many of these animals have not had human interaction nor have they seen the world outside of their cages.

“This gives them a chance to decompress and adjust to the smells and sounds of their new surroundings,” Ramer said in an email to Cowboy State Daily on Friday morning. “Once they are spayed or neutered and have a clean bill of health, they move into one of our dog yurts and live with other dogs and their caretaker.”

Once in the yurt, the pups share quarters with a live-in dog trainer, who gives them hands-on, around-the-clock care and attention to help them adjust to their new world and socialize with humans and other dogs.

It’s a huge transition from their former lives, Ramer said.

“Our caretakers are trained specifically to expose the dogs to all the trappings of living in a home-like environment,” he said. “These dogs have never heard music, watched TV or heard a blender or vacuum cleaner, so you can only imagine how surprised they are by these new experiences.”

Kindness Ranch Beagle 4 10 7 23
(Courtesy Kindness Ranch)

Road To Adoptability

Adjusting to the new stimuli is paramount to their ability to become adoptable.

As with every new batch of new dogs, the staff has identified a theme for naming purposes. Up until that point, the animals had been identified only by the string of letters and numbers assigned by the facilities for U.S. Department of Agriculture tracking purposes. 

This theme centers around firsts – or new beginnings – earning the two females in the group the names Nova and Asha.

Combined, the Kindness Ranch is caring for 16 beagles, with four to five now ready for adoption. Along with the pups, the animal sanctuary also has other former lab animals, including 32 cats and 21 rabbits, that also need new homes.

The adoption process is somewhat strict, because of the unique history of the animals, Ramer said.

The process to apply, however, is simple and can done on the website. It includes a virtual home visit and brief interview, at which point an appointment will be scheduled to pick up their new family member, Ramer said.

In the meantime, the Kindness Ranch continues to grow its infrastructure with new building projects planned this winter to update its existing buildings, including the dog yurts, to safely house and support an increasing volume of new animals.

The Kindness Ranch now also offers long-term volunteer opportunities with housing and food stipends for qualified applicants.

“We are hitting milestones with the number of staff, adoptions and successful outreach programs in place,” Ramer said.

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Jen Kocher

Features, Investigative Reporter