ST. LOUIS — On Thursday, St. Louis beagle families celebrated one year with their rescue dogs. Fifty dogs were brought to St. Louis from Virginia, where 4,000 beagles were saved from a testing and breeding facility last year.

“She had been in a cage most of her life. So, when we got her out of the kennel here, she didn’t know how to walk on the floor. She would Army crawl for us,” said Sarah-Kate Sullivan.

Since adopting their beagle, Birdie, Sullivan said she’s experienced playing in a yard, something she never had before the rescue.

“Birdie couldn’t be any sweeter. She’s very loving and sweet, but she can also hold a grudge,” said Sullivan.

Birdie is one of 50 beagles sent to St. Louis last year when 4,000 beagles were rescued from Envigo, a testing and breeding facility in Cumberland, Virginia.

The U.S. Department of Justice filed complaints against Envigo for violations of the Animal Welfare Act. The U.S. Attorney’s Office Western District in Virginia said the company failed to provide humane care and treatment to thousands of beagles at the Cumberland facility.

The Humane Society said the beagle rescue was the largest in the country. The dogs were spread out across 29 states for adoption.

“I remember how timid they were; they were unsure what to do. To walk around and to see them today running and playing and interacting with one another and so much love from the families that adopted them is just really incredible,” said Sarah Javier, president of the APA Adoption Center.

Javier said the beagles quickly found a new home, and one year later, families like the Sullivan’s said they can’t imagine life without their rescue beagle.

“We just waited until they were here. We couldn’t wait; we were excited. Wanted to be a part of something. Beagles have just kind of made our family whole,” Sullivan said.