Meghan and Harry Adopt Mamma Mia, One of 4,000 Beagles Rescued From Breeding Facility

Sophie Hirsh - Author

Aug. 26 2022, Published 11:01 a.m. ET

Harry and Meghan Dog
Source: Kevin Wolf/AP Images for the HSUS, Getty Images

There’s a new member of the Royal Family.

Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, have adopted a dog — and not just any dog. Meghan and Harry’s new dog is one of 4,000 beagles recently rescued from a breeding facility for animal testing, after it had violated the Animal Welfare Act.

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Keep reading for all the details on their new dog, the sweet adoption process, and the story of these 4,000 beagles finding freedom.

Harry and Meghan
Source: Getty Images
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Meghan and Harry have adopted a new rescue dog named Mamma Mia.

A spokesperson for Meghan and Harry told The Los Angeles Times that when Meghan read about 4,000 beagles being rescued after Envigo’s shutdown, she knew she wanted to adopt one.

And while many people would jump at the opportunity to adopt a tiny puppy, Meghan was adamant about rescuing a senior dog from this group of dogs.

“She knew about Envigo, and when she heard about [Mia and her puppies] she said, ‘Oh my goodness, we would love to adopt the mother,’” Shannon Keith of the Beagle Freedom Project, who helped facilitate Harry and Meghan’s adoption, told BuzzFeed News. “Nobody ever wants to adopt the mother.”

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So after a phone call with Keith, the couple went to the Los Angeles neighborhood of Valley Village to visit the group of about 25 dogs from Envigo who the Beagle Freedom Project was placing for adoption. There, Meghan and Harry quickly fell in love with Mamma Mia, who had been rescued from the facility with her eight newborn puppies.

Beagle rescue
Source: Kevin Wolf/AP Images for the HSUS

Kitty Block, President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States greets the first 201 beagles on Thursday, July 21, 2022, at the organization’s care and rehabilitation center in Maryland, after the organization removed them as part of a transfer plan from Envigo RMS LLC facility in Virginia.

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“The duchess is holding Mia and was like, ‘We’re adopting her,’” Keith told The Times. “She was like ‘No, we don’t want a Christmas puppy. … We want ones we can help who are older.’”

Keith was happy to see that both Sussexes quickly connected with Mia at their first meeting. She told BuzzFeed News that Meghan immediately went down to the floor to “[give] her love,” while the dog ran right over to Harry when he sat down on a couch. Keith also noted that Harry asked a lot of questions about Mia’s care, and was “sensitive and intuitive.”

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Mamma Mia will be joining several other rescue animals on the Duke and Duchess’ property in Montecito, Calif. — a beagle named Guy, a black Lab named Pula, and a flock of chickens who were rescued from a slaughterhouse.

Meghan and Harry also have two children — Archie, 3, and Lilibet, 1 — who are sure to love the new addition.

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About 4,000 beagles are being rescued from a breeding facility, after reports of neglect.

In July, Virginia-based breeding facility Envigo was called out for significantly violating the Animal Welfare Act. The Department of Justice ordered Envigo to surrender 4,000 beagles, who would have otherwise all been sold to labs for animal experimentation, to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

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According to HSUS, the animals were suffering from neglect, cold exposure (which killed 25 puppies), insufficient food (and being fed food that was contaminated with maggots, mold, and feces), and inadequate veterinary care.

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On July 21, the Humane Society’s Animal Rescue Team began its “largest operation ever” and started removing the beagles from Envigo's facility. As of Aug. 25, the organization had rescued almost 3,000 of the beagles, thanks to the help of over 75 rescue groups and shelters across the U.S.

There’s no doubt that Mamma Mia will be happy with the Sussexes — and that all 4,000 beagles will be far happier with their new forever homes than they would have ever been as the victims of animal testing.

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