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Meghan Markle & Prince Harry Stopped by an Animal Rescue & Brought Home a New Member of the Family

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have added a new member to their royal ranks: a 7-year-old beagle named Mamma Mia. Meghan and Prince Harry rescued the newly crowned doggie duchess from the Beagle Freedom Project, which received Mamma Mia, eight of her puppies, and 14 other beagles from a larger rescue earlier in July.

Federal authorities conducted a 4,000-dog rescue from an Envigo breeding and research plant in Virginia after the Department of Justice deemed it a “house of horrors.” A lawsuit was filed against the company in May, and further investigation revealed gross neglect of the dogs housed in the plant’s facilities, including overwhelming instances of insufficient food, untreated medical issues, unsanitary living conditions, and other significant violations of the Animal Welfare Act. The thousands of beagles were released from Envigo’s “care” and transferred to the Humane Society of the United States, which then dispersed the dogs to shelters and rescue groups around the country. Mamma Mia was one of 25 who made it to Southern California, and the sole pup of the pack to join the House of Windsor.

Shannon Keith, an animal rights attorney, coordinated the Duke and Duchess’ adoption through direct conversation with Meghan, who specifically wanted to help one of the older beagles, knowing puppies have a much easier time getting adopted. According to the Duchess’ spokeswoman, Meghan had previously taken in a rescue beagle and enjoyed its companionship for many years, so when she heard about the animal rights crisis happening at the Envigo plant, she wanted to become part of the solution for the abused dogs.

Keith shared that Prince Harry paused to show his own compassion for his newest family member before leaving the Beagle Freedom Project facility, asking if there was a toy Mamma Mia was particularly fond of that the couple could take home with them. A box of toys was flipped over for Mamma Mia to nose through, and she picked up a fox toy she had played with during her road trip to California. With the toy in her mouth, Mia, Meghan, and Harry headed to their Montecito home.

Click here to see Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s complete relationship timeline.
Meghan Markle, Prince Harry

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