AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Animal welfare officials on Wednesday accused Georgia Regents University of performing unnecessary and painful dental implant procedures on dogs, then euthanizing them.
A three-month undercover investigation revealed that dogs have had their teeth pulled, replaced with implants and then euthanized, said Humane Society of the United States spokeswoman Stephanie Twining. She added that jaw bone samples were taken from dead dogs.
The experiments were being done to compare a dental implant that was invented by Georgia Regents researchers with one that was developed by a competitor, Twining said.
Dogs that were provided to the university were collected by a Random Source Class-B Dealer, Twining said. She said these types of dealers are allowed to gather animals from various sources — including auctions, online and shelters — and resell them to research facilities.
University Senior Vice President for Research Mark Hamrick said in a statement that researchers at the Augusta school use protocols that are regularly reviewed by the United States Department of Agriculture, and that the university adheres to local, state and federal guidelines.
The school doesn't frequently use dogs for research and all projects involving animals are reviewed by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, Hamrick said.
"The research being done with dogs is neither frivolous nor unnecessary, as alleged by the investigation, and is performed in order to develop safe, effective dental procedures for people," Hamrick said. "As an institution, we are committed to research that will provide a direct benefit to patient lives by restoring function to damaged and diseased organs and tissues," he said.
The Humane Society of the United States has filed legal complaints with the USDA and the National Institutes of Health's Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, Twining said.