Georgia Regents under fire for dental experiments on dogs

(WJLA) - An undercover investigation on dog research reveals troubling practices at Georgia Regents University.

On Wednesday, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) released images of dogs lying on the operating table, all to be used for dental experiments, which the organization says was unnecessary.

Nationwide 65,000 dogs per year are used for research purposes, and according to the largest animal protection group, many dogs endure pain or distress during the process.

An HSUS investigation shows this firsthand in a new video, narrated by actress Kim Basinger. The rare glimpse inside the research facility at GRU uncovered questionable actions.

"Even though most of the work that was actually involved in the dental extraction, and putting in the implant, and removing it, was when the animals were under anesthesia or when the animals were dead...the animals spent eight weeks in this process," said Andrew Rowan, Chief Scientific Officer for the Humane Society.

Other findings show inadequate care leading to malnourishment and not enough staff.

While animal testing is legal, the HSUS said this specific experiment may have been done without an approved protocol.

"GRU must follow the Animal Welfare Act and public health service policy, and we have filed complaints with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and NIH with concerns raised at that facility, " said Kathleen Conlee, the vice president of animal research for the Humane Society.

HSUS President and CEO Wayne Pacelle said his dog Lilly, a rescue, could have easily been part of the testing.

"She's so trusting and so loyal and that's one of the reasons that these sorts of animals are used in these experiments," said Pacelle.

In many cases they get to that point by way of Class B dealers - only 6 in the country - who gather animals from various sources, then re-sell them to labs.

"Georgia Regents acquired dogs from Mr. Kenneth Schroeder a random source Class B dealer who's been formally charged by the USDA for violations of the Animal Welfare Act, and this investigation, this case by the USDA against Mr. Schroeder is still pending," said Pacelle.

The investigation also found other issues with different animals including primates and mice.

While private funding was used for the dental experiment with dogs, The Humane Society found that GRU receives $50 million in federal funding from NIH for other projects involving animals.