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Best Friends issues statement about Steve Markwell and Olympic Animal Sanctuary

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On Sunday, Best Friends Animal Society issued a statement about Steve Markwell's demands for the dogs who are housed at the Olympic Animal Sanctuary in Forks, Wash.

Barbara Williamson, media relations manager at Best Friends Animal Society, stated:

We are aware of Steve Markwell's post calling on Best Friends Animal Society to take in the dogs from Olympic Animal Sanctuary. We have asked Mr. Markwell to get in touch with us directly and provide the information we'll need to begin assessing the feasibility of providing assistance. While we understand the concern that is driving so many people to urge us to take in these dogs, only after extended discussions and careful evaluation will we be able to determine what is possible.

In addition, the allegations of abuse must be taken seriously, and Best Friends does not have the legal authority here. The local authorities should determine if charges are appropriate.

We know from experience that responding to these situations takes a tremendous amount of money, manpower, time and planning. Given the complexity of this situation, it is simply too soon for us to commit to any particular course of action. Housing and caring for more than 100 dogs that are reportedly either human aggressive, dog aggressive, or both would be a massive challenge.

Our primary concern, as always, is the welfare of the dogs, and once we begin a dialogue with Mr. Markwell, we will be in a position to determine how we and other like-minded groups might help.

Williamson's response follows Markwell's conditional notice of the dissolution of the Olympic Animal Sanctuary; on Saturday, he stated:

For these reasons, I am offering to transfer OAS’ dogs to the one organization with the resources to take appropriate care of them: Best Friends Animal Society. Best Friends is a world-renowned no-kill sanctuary that referred a number of OAS’ dogs to me in the first place. They have the staff, expertise, land, financial resources, and philosophy to give OAS’ dogs the best chance they can ever have for a good life.

If Best Friends and their no-kill partners will agree to take OAS’ dogs, care for them for their entire natural lives, and not transfer them to any other person or organization unequipped to provide the specialized care they require, my attorney will negotiate the details with them. Once the specifics are arranged, I will transfer the dogs and dissolve Olympic Animal Sanctuary.

Seattle area "Anonymous" protesters are standing vigil outside of the OAS warehouse today. Individuals who have made the trek to Forks to peacefully protest the conditions for the 125 dogs inside, have noted that the barking is subsiding; some have voiced concern that dogs are either being moved, or even that some have died.

Individuals still hoping to see Markwell officially investigated can voice their concerns to: Rod Fleck, Forks, WA City Attorney: rodf.forks@centurytel.net Fax (360) 374-9430.

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