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Animal rights group's suit says Stony Brook University failed to provide adequate information about research dog Quinn

Melissa Andrews, of Maine, kisses her rescue dog

Melissa Andrews, of Maine, kisses her rescue dog Isaac. Andrews is part of a group suing Stony Brook University for more information about a dog, Quinn, who they believe is being used for research. Credit: handout

An animal rights group has sued Stony Brook University to compel the school to provide more information under the Freedom of Information Law about a dog, Quinn, that the group says is part of a research project, according to court papers.

The Beagle Freedom Project said in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in state Supreme Court in Suffolk that the publicly funded school provided an inadequate answer to its FOIL request in March about Quinn.

The Beagle Project is the informal name of Animal Rescue, Media & Education. It described itself in the court papers as "a nonprofit corporation whose mission is to rescue animals from laboratories and to educate the public on animal research and exploitation."

It said its aim is "to help identify animals purchased and experimented on with taxpayer funds, who may be appropriately re-homed to individual taxpayers once the research is concluded."

It encourages people to "virtually adopt" animals like Quinn on the project's website to raise public awareness. They do not get to actually adopt the animals, although the group said some had been quietly released from research labs.

The lawsuit said the school wrongly redacted parts of the documents it provided under FOIL, and did not provide the same documents that other publicly funded schools had provided under similar FOIL requests.

The university declined to comment on the merits of the case Wednesday.

The FOIL request was filed by Melissa Andrews, a Maine resident who opposes research on animals and supports the work of the Beagle Freedom Project, which was established in California in 2010.

"I thought it was really powerful and something I wanted to be a part of," she said in a telephone interview. "The number of dogs suffering in labs is so large, and they're numbers. They don't have identities. They're treated like lab equipment. I wanted Quinn to have a name."

She said Quinn was born in May 2013, but the records she got from Stony Brook were so scant that, "I can't even tell if he is still alive."

If he is, she said, she would like to adopt him, giving some company to Isaac, a rescue dog she adopted two years ago.

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