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Concerns mount after dogs and operator of 'sanctuary' disappear

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For several weeks, individuals aware of the Olympic Animal Sanctuary in Forks, Wash., have worried about two primary things - the conditions for the 120+ dogs who were housed inside of the OAS warehouse, and whether or not the dogs were being stealthily moved away.

This weekend, it appears that for people critical of OAS, both concerns have been validated.

According to Saturday's Peninsula Daily News, Steve Markwell, the owner/operator of OAS, confirmed that all of the dogs from inside of the warehouse had been loaded into a semi-trailer and taken away.

Markwell has continued to remain secretive, moving the dogs but not stating where the dogs were being taken.

The conditions inside of the warehouse following Markwell's disappearance have done little to ease the worries of those concerned for the welfare of the dogs. On Saturday, Seattle Dog Spot published several photographs of what remained after Markwell and the dogs left.

The photos reveal filth...garbage, dirty straw, and water buckets filled with green and/or brown liquid.

Oddly enough, it appears that all, or most of the food dishes and water bowls have been discarded, along with many of the dog crates. Click here to view all of the photos which were just taken this weekend.

Right now, many people are desperate to find Markwell and the OAS dogs and Dogs Deserve Better, the group which came to Forks in November, has announced the offering of a $2,000 reward for information leading to their whereabouts.

Markwell apparently felt the need to whisk the dogs away from the OAS warehouse for "their safety," even though protesters repeatedly stated that they wanted the dogs removed because they were concerned for their welfare.

Those following this situation have obvious does one man, or even two if he took a volunteer with him, care for 120+ dogs. Even a scant one minute bathroom break, per dog, would take over two hours. Is the trailer climate controlled? Is there adequate ventilation?

How will the dogs be fed and watered if they have no food dishes? Or, are there excess crates and food bowls because some of the dogs are no longer alive?

Dogs Deserve Better has requested that anyone with information about Markwell's whereabouts to please call: 814-207-4586, and leave a message or, send an e-mail to

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