INDIANAPOLIS – Freezing temperatures, icy roads and a little snow couldn’t keep Eastwood Middle School students away from the Statehouse Monday morning to testify in favor of adoption of retired research animals.

Senate Bill 16 would require universities and facilities across the state that use dogs or cats in experiments of any purpose to offer retired animals for adoption to the public or animal care facilities. The animals must be healthy and cannot have a significant medical diagnosis.

The Eastwood sixth graders were joined by Jamie Archer of Illinois and her beagle, Daphne, Monday in an attempt to urge lawmakers to pass the proposed legislation.

“The whole reason why we want this bill to pass is to give beagles and other animals a second chance at having happiness,” said Katelyn McConnell, a sixth grade student at Eastwood.

The Senate Agriculture and Rural Committee listened as sixth grader after sixth grader testified in support of SB 16, authored by Sen. John Ruckelshaus, R-Indianapolis.

“I just want [the animals] to get in to a good home because they really have been stuck in cages their whole life and it is really just not fair to them,” said Nora Cesljarev, 12. “They should just be put in a loving home.”

Archer and Daphne also had the chance to testify in front of the committee Monday. Archer used the opportunity to show lawmakers the scars Daphne received from researchers in past experiments.

“Steve [Auslander] had contacted me and when I found out he was organizing this with a group of students, without a doubt, since I adopted a beagle from a lab, I would come,” Archer said. “He got special permission for the beagle to be here, and so we were here.”

The committee did not vote on the measure during Monday’s hearing because lawmakers had questions about how the bill would work.

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