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November 20, 2013

HSUS Undercover: Georgia Dog Lab Supplied by Random Source Dealer

At a press conference this morning, my colleagues and I released the results of the latest HSUS undercover investigation – in this case, laboratory experiments on dogs and other animals at Georgia Regents University in Augusta, Ga. The focus of our investigation was on the use of dogs for unnecessary and terminal dental experiments. The dogs had been gathered and sold to the university by an unscrupulous random source Class B dog dealer.

The hound mixes our investigator saw in the laboratory looked strikingly similar to my dog Lily, and for that reason alone this investigation had special poignancy for me. The dogs there seemed so vulnerable and afraid, and it is a horrifying thought to imagine Lily in the hands of someone with the worst of intentions for her.

Our HSUS investigator spent three months at GRU taking care of dogs who underwent painful dental surgery. The dogs were acquired from Kenneth Schroeder – a random source Class B dealer who has been formally charged by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including obtaining multiple dogs from illegal sources.

Shy Guy at GRU
The HSUS
Shy Guy, who formed a special bond with the investigator,
was one of six dogs subjected to painful dental experiments
during the investigation. He was later euthanized for a
small sample of his jaw bone.

The investigator developed a very special bond with one of the dogs who was malnourished and scared of men. The investigator named him “Shy Guy.” Shy Guy and five other dogs had their teeth pulled out and had dental implants put in place. Shy Guy, who stopped breathing on the surgical table during the removal of his teeth, survived only to be killed eight weeks later, along with the five other dogs. We are appalled to see that the dogs died just for a small piece of their jaw bone. You can see Shy Guy and the other victims in this video, narrated by actor and Georgia native Kim Basinger.

We know that these six dogs were not the first victims of unnecessary dental implant research. Georgia Regents University has been conducting similar experiments on Class B random source dogs for years. Between 2005 and 2012, 186 dogs were purchased by GRU, with many of them likely suffering the same fate as Shy Guy. All 186 dogs were acquired from Kenneth Schroeder.

Documents regarding one of these studies refer to the upcoming expiration of GRU’s patent on a previously-developed dental implant product and states that “competing technologies are being developed,” suggesting that the research was conducted to try to give the company a leg up in the tooth implant world. A critic of these experiments, Dr. James P. Jensvold, DDS, noted that the products at issue in this lab already had Food and Drug Administration approval. When he was a dental student and maxillofacial surgery resident, Dr. Jensvold told us that he had “witnessed laboratory animals being treated little different than a test tube, which is inconsistent with the values of compassionate health care.”

Urge the USDA to crack down on Class B dealers »

We have filed complaints with the USDA and the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, calling on the agencies to investigate these issues and others observed during the investigation. We are calling on Georgia Regents to stop getting dogs from any random-source Class B dealers and to end dental experiments using animals.

There are still six random source Class B dealers operating in the United States. They are allowed to gather dogs and cats from various sources, including auctions, “free to good home” ads, online sources, flea markets and even from some animal control or other shelter facilities - then they resell them to research facilities. There have been cases of stolen pets ending up in research laboratories due to these Class B dealers and their lack of morality and ethics. Shy Guy and the 185 other dogs that GRU acquired could have been pets, just like Lily.

Watch the undercover footage here:

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