Animal lovers have been watching closely the past week as the sad tale of the Olympic Animal Sanctuary began to unfold. The sanctuary in Forks, Washington came under fire by animal advocates for the alleged inhumane treatment of the dogs. While the story started to unfold, the dogs and sanctuary owner Steve Markwell disappeared.
Photos of the abandoned sanctuary spread on social media. Olympic Animal Sanctuary had been home to 124 dogs. The good news was Markwell wasn’t really off the radar for long. Guardians of Rescue, an East Coast based group, had been in contact with him since the story started to unfold.
“We’d been in contact with Markwell since November and in discussions about removing the dogs from the shelter,” affirms Robert Misseri, founder and President of Guardians of Rescue. “We had no idea that he was going to pack up and move the dogs, but when we heard, we immediately took action for the benefit of the dogs.”
Misseri arranged to have Rescue Unwanted Furry Friends Foundation in Arizona take in the dogs for the time being. He stayed in contact with Markwell the three days he was on the road and worked to make sure that location was ready for the dogs when they arrived on Christmas eve.
Since RUFFF is located in sunny Arizona, the dogs can be kept outdoors with proper housing. Kennels have been set up and veterinary care arranged for the dogs. Markwell had reportedly been preparing to flee with the dogs for several months.
“When Markwell left Forks, everyone was very concerned. We’ve taken on a huge burden with the sudden need to care for these dogs because of his actions, but the priority now is the health and safety of these 124 dogs,” affirms Misseri, “Unfortunately, R.U.F.F.F. can’t keep these dogs forever. We are going to ensure that the dogs are not euthanized, but find rescue groups or alternative shelters.”
Since Guardians of Rescue had such a short window to prepare for the care of 124 dogs, they were not able to field enough volunteers to set up the kennel space. Labor had to be hired to help get the sanctuary ready. Now the group is asking for donations to help sure up their rescue funds for future endeavors and for donations for the wish list.
Guardians of Rescue founded programs such as Paws of War to help active military and veterans with the use of therapy dogs to assist with post-traumatic stress disorder. You may donate online to help this effort and future rescues.
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