With Gov. Mark Dayton's signature, Minnesota became the first state in the nation to enact a law giving dogs and cats used in laboratory testing the opportunity to be adopted once research is complete.

Part of the Omnibus Supplemental Budget Bill, the Beagle Freedom law authored by Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, and Rep. John Lesch, DFL-St. Paul, links taxpayer-funded laboratories and educational institutions that use dogs and cats for research with nonprofit animal rescues. The animals can be placed for adopted when they are no longer needed for research.

According to the Los Angeles-based Beagle Freedom Project, which sponsored the legislation, nearly 65,000 dogs across the country are used to test cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and household products. Nearly 96 percent of the dogs are beagles, one of the top five most popular family dog breeds in America, said Shannon Keith, founder and president of the Beagle Freedom Project.

"We are overjoyed that Gov. Dayton signed this bill into law ensuring that countless dogs and cats have a chance to go to forever homes when their research experience is over," Keith said in a statement. "We expect that this is the beginning of many celebrations as other states follow suit."

Last month, a similar measure in California passed the Assembly Higher Education Committee and headed to the Appropriations Committee.

Read more about the Beagle Freedom Project here.