Entire statement just issued from Best Friends Animal Society to KOMO 4 News Seattle: Statement follows:
Based on the information being reported, the situation at Olympic Animal Sanctuary (OAS) appears to be quite dire, and we at Best Friends share the deep concern so many of you have about the dogs living there. With a reported 125 dogs having varying levels of behavioral and medical issues in need of placement, the stark truth is that it will take many rescue organizations working together to deal with this situation.
On Tuesday, December 17th, we spoke with Steve Markwell’s attorney and requested detailed information about the dogs at OAS and what Mr. Markwell was asking of Best Friends. We then received a brief email from Mr. Markwell himself on the 18th. Neither interaction provided any specifics about either the dogs (number, condition, temperament, etc.) or about Mr. Markwell’s ultimate intentions. For example, we do not know if he intends to divest himself of all dogs in his care and then permanently close OAS, or if he intends to simply start fresh and begin bringing in new animals once the current population is gone.
Although we have asked for additional details, at this time, we have not received this key information from either Mr. Markwell or his attorney. In our opinion and professional judgment, the best chance for ensuring the welfare of the dogs is for Mr. Markwell to open wide the doors of the facility and allow all qualified organizations to help immediately and unconditionally.
If Mr. Markwell agrees to accept help from all willing and qualified rescues, and if he agrees not to take in any more dogs at his existing facility or any other, here is what we at Best Friends are prepared to do to help:
1. Assuming that there are dogs within the OAS population who can safely live within a group housing environment, we believe we will be able to accept several such dogs at our no-kill sanctuary in Kanab. As usual, we are operating our own sanctuary at capacity, and it would simply be irresponsible of us to take in more dogs than we can safely accommodate. We have limited facilities suitable for dogs who cannot live in group housing. Currently, these facilities are full, and there is already a waiting list of dogs who require that type of living situation.
2. We are willing to network, spreading the word to other like-minded rescue groups about the dogs in need at OAS. In fact, we have already heard from several groups who are willing to help. We are also willing to help with transporting the dogs to qualified groups. We believe that if Mr. Markwell agrees to be transparent and open about the situation at OAS, many more groups will step forward to save lives.
We understand that many of you are eager to see this situation improved for the dogs, and we will make you aware of any opportunities to help them should things evolve.
Best Friends Animal Society
For years, caring and compassionate people from the NW have tried to rescue 120+ dogs from the infamous Olympic Animal Sanctuary. Now the campaign has gone worldwide due to the incredible efforts of several humane groups and dedicated, everyday people.
Yet, the City Admin of Forks WA continue to turn a blind eye and deaf ear to the mournful, desperate cries of these dogs, crammed into small crates and cages, 24 hours a day, for days, weeks, months and YEARS at a time.
Steve Markwell, the operator of this supposed "sanctuary" refuses to allow anyone to check on the welfare of the animals. There are dozens of photos, many taken by the Forks police, of these dogs in sickening, heart-wrenching condition, many starving, some dying from dehydration, many crippled from constant confinement, and many simply going stir crazy.
There are a few concerned citizens of Forks who have filed complaints of horrendous odors and constant, desperate barking.
Legitimate rescue groups are standing by who have offered to take these dogs and rehabilitate them.
Markwell claims they are "dangerous" yet only 3 are registered as dangerous. He has promised to move them to a larger facility, but instead used donated money for trips abroad and across the country. He has promised to use donated money for a lot of things to improve the facility but NEVER does. Instead these dogs wither and rot in a broken down building living in their own waste and being fed raw, rotten maggot-covered butcher scraps, and even then only 2-3 times A WEEK.
Since it appears that conversation, photographic and video evidence, eyewitness testimony and common sense will not convince Markwell AND the City Admin of Forks to do the right thing and end the suffering of these dogs by allowing professionals to rescue them, the only recourse left is financial.
That is why we are calling for a BOYCOTT of ALL BUSINESSES in FORKS WA and SURROUNDING AREAS.
Since compassion seems to be lacking with the Mayor, Police Dept and other city officals, and they sneer at and ignore "outsiders", perhaps the lack of money in the city coffers will get their attention. It's time for the people of Forks to STAND UP for what's right, legal, and humane.
We will NOT go away, nor will we give up. Please sign to save these dogs. Time is running out.
Please use these links for more info: