So lets take a look back at the year in beagles.
Beagles started the year on a low note -- everyone's favorite hound fell to number four on the 10 Most Popular Dog Breeds List put out by AKC every year (The beagle was number three the year before). The list is based on the number of dogs in a breed that are registered with the AKC each year. The golden retriever, German Sheperd and labrador retriever took the top three spots.
We did several stories about the worldwide effort to free the beagles used for testing by pharmaceutical giant Astra Zeneca. The company was closing a facility in Sweden and moving the beagles to England.
Despite months of conversation with the company, however, activists could not convince Astra Zeneca that these beagles could find new lives as ordinary dogs.
But the effort continues, including a bill in England to force companies to retire lab pets so they find new homes.
Sixty-six beagles got new homes in 2013 thanks to the efforts of the Beagle Freedom Project. The group expanded its operations to 23 states, and also saved mixed breed dogs, rabbits, cats, pigs and 10 ponies in the United Kingdom.
The rescues happened in Colorado, Minnesota and most notably Washington DC, which we wrote about. I also interviewed Shannon Keith, the founder of the Beagle Freedom Project, in a two-part interview.
The charity is now trying to build a Rescue and Outreach Center to help with temporary care, and they are getting into the lobbying business. They have bills in Minnesota and California to try and get those states to let more lab beagles get homes -- instead of the alternative.
Want the latest news? Head to the Beagle Freedom Project Facebook page.
Want to donate? Head to the BFP website.
In March, beaglekind lost a champion in Seamus the Famous. Seamus was the star of the book "The Dog Lived (And So Will I)," by Teresa Rhyne, who rescued Seamus from animal control in California. Not long after, doctors discovered Seamus had a tumor, and less than a year to live. Seamus not only fought his battle with cancer, but also aided his mom in her own battle with the disease. But Seamus' cancer returned, and his family helped him go peacefully.
|Courtesy of Teresa Rhyne website.|
Rhyne has since adopted two more beagles -- Daphne (another shelter dog) and Percival (formerly Comet, a Beagle Freedom Project alum). She's working on a new book too -- The Dogs Were Rescued (And So Was I). While you can find updates on Daphne and Percival on Facebook, Rhyne's website still bears the mark of that first, spunky beagle who touched her heart.
A beagle had emergency responders repelling off a cliff in New York in July.
|Photo courtesy of WWLP.|
WWLP reports Apollo the beagle managed to get caught part way up on a big embankment at Fulmer Creek in German Flatts, NY.
Rescues had to repel about 250 feet down to get Apollo off the cliff and to safety. As you can tell, Apollo was pretty exhausted, and his owner was relieved.
How many of us have heard the story of Daniel, the beagle that survived a gas chamber at an animal control facility in Alabama in 2011? Daniel is got a new family and is fighting to end gas chambers as an inhumane form of euthanasia.
|From Daniel the Beagle Dwyer's Facebook page.|
Well in December Daniel announced on his Facebook page that he would get to ride in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena! Daniel rode New Year's Day on the Lucy Pet Foundation float. The Lucy Pet Foundation works to provide mobile spaying and neutering and adoption clinics all across the country.
Pretty proud moment for beagles!
Hoping for a big year for beagles in 2014. What was your favorite moment?