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Arrest made at Olympic Animal Sanctuary

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Late Friday morning, an arrest was made outside of the Olympic Animal Sanctuary (OAS) in Forks, Wash.

Though many concerned dog lovers have expressed hope that the owner/operator of the OAS facility, Steve Markwell, would be arrested for the alleged neglect of the dogs who are in his care, he was not the one who came under fire from the local authorities today.

Instead, one of the women who has been standing outside of the facility, conducting a peaceful protest, has been arrested.

Dogs Deserve Better founder Tamira Thayne, who was standing outside of the OAS warehouse with her cardboard sign, was arrested and taken to the town jail.

Tamira Thayne and Rescue Coordinator Robin Budin arrived to the sanctuary on Wednesday morning, and each day since then, the pair has stood vigil outside of the warehouse, in frigid conditions, waiting for what they say, is a tour of the facility and the chance to see the condition of a dog named "Sonny."

Prior to allegations of possible neglect at the sanctuary, Dogs Deserve Better had placed Sonny in the care of Markwell. Now that potential problems have been reported, the women want to retrieve Sonny from Markwell's care.

Thayne has been blogging about her time outside of OAS.

She has noted that, from her observation, nobody has been seen going in or out of the facility to care for the estimated 120 dogs who are housed inside.

Thayne wrote:

There appeared to be no one on the premises caring for the dogs, at least there was no vehicle visible at the location, and no one entered or left the building during the time we carried out our vigil there, from 10 a.m. through 1:30 p.m.

No dogs that are warehoused inside were walked, released to the yards for exercise, or were made visible to us during the 3.5 hours we remained outside. We continued to hear mournful howls coming from the dogs inside as well as out at least once an hour and lasting for 1-3 minutes, as we documented the previous day.

She added:

Every hour I stand in front of that warehouse and know that no one is in there caring for these dogs is an hour I suffer emotionally and mentally, feeling powerless to help them. Thousands of people all over the world suffer daily thinking of these dogs and the conditions they face.

Though the statement has not come directly from Markwell, there have been allegations that he felt threatened by the women who were staging the peaceful protest, and Dogs Deserve Better, hence his request for a restraining order against them, and the subsequent arrest.

OAS has been under scrutiny for some time, especially following a KOMO News investigative report. At the time that a KOMO reporter visited OAS, he and his crew were denied entry to the building.

Supporters of Markwell claim that the photos taken at the facility, which show dogs packed into filthy, small cages, are old and that new pens and better bedding have been obtained. Unfortunately, no one is allowed inside to see the living conditions firsthand, and to verify that they have been improved.

In the wake of Thayne's arrest, those people who want to see the dogs at the sanctuary seized and removed, are up in arms. Local authorities and officials have declined to take any action against OAS and all efforts to verify the current conditions inside of the warehouse facility have been thwarted.

Though Thayne predicted her arrest this morning, she has asked that others continue to be the voice for the dogs who are locked inside of the building; she stated:

If I am arrested this morning for doing so, it is my honor and privilege to spend an hour in jail for every dog who is spending his or her life in a tiny cage in an unheated warehouse mere blocks away. I ask only for all citizens to continue to fight this outrage on their behalf.

We must be their voices.

Link to officials in Forks, Wash., here.

Click here to see Thayne's recount of the days' activities and photos taken this week.

Note: An email request was sent earlier this week to the Olympic Animal Sanctuary in an effort to get a statement about the current conditions and allegations of neglect. As of the writing of this article, the email has remained unanswered.

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