Michigan gubernatorial candidate Shri Thanedar is having a bad month. The self-styled “fiscally savvy Bernie” (what that is supposed to signal to voters, I really couldn’t tell you) reportedly decided to run as a Democrat rather than as a Republican on the advice of a political consultant. But whoever is giving him campaign advice apparently failed to mention a couple of other things: Enticing the black caucus to an event using Popeyes chicken, for example, is widely considered in poor taste.
And whatever you do, do not let the press find out you abandoned more than 100 extremely good beagles—one of “America’s favorite dogs”—in an animal-testing facility you forgot about when your company failed.
According to HuffPost, the pharmaceutical testing facility AniClin Preclinical Services shuttered in 2010 after parent company Azopharma, which Thanedar owned, went bankrupt and hastily shut down. In the sloppily executed closure, 118 of the beagles, whose lives had already been defined by their tiny plexiglass cages and the sterile, plastic-gloved hands that administered tests on them, were simply abandoned. The lab’s employees, being people with hearts, jumped fences to provide food and water to the dogs after losing their jobs, and two months after Azopharma went bankrupt, animal rights activists went to the lab to save the very good boys and girls. Here’s USA Today’s heartwarming account:
Day after day, month after month, year after year, they were confined to plexiglass crates, fed and watered on precise schedules, kept clean. But with no opportunity to leave their solitary little boxes and spend time with others like themselves, with nothing but the most antiseptic contact with humans and no time outside the gleaming, climate-controlled facility, the 118 beagles—lab dogs used to test drugs and chemicals—displayed nothing of the much-acclaimed breed characteristics: joyful, noisy and curious.
Imagine the amazement these floppy-eared creatures felt when, suddenly, they were whisked from their isolated existence and deposited into the welcoming arms of rescuers ready to introduce them to the ways of regular-dog life.
The animals were later placed in a shelter. There is also a video, recorded by the Times Herad-Record, of the dogs being released and groomed by a group of volunteers.
You can hear a woman marveling on the tape that it appeared the beagles had never in their short lives seen the outdoors. “When I walked in here it looked like they were walking on eggshells,” she says. “They were kind of afraid to walk on the grass.”
A few days later, more than 50 long-tailed macaque monkeys were also rescued from the “horrors of the lab” by another animal rights group. (They are delightful animals, as well; if you’re so inclined you can watch a video of one here.)
Thanedar told HuffPost on Wednesday that the lab had been seized by Bank of America after his company went under, and that he had “no knowledge how well the bank took care of the animals.” And to be fair, around the time the beagles were being held in an abandoned testing facility, Thanader was reeling from having to give up his Ferrari and Rolls Royce, as well as the the “party kind of house” mansion in Missouri he’d helped design a few years prior.