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Steve Markwell, former owner of Olympic Animal Sanctuary, is behind bars

Steve Markwell is in jail
Steve Markwell is in jail
Screen shot via KOMO News

According to Monday's KOMO News, Steve Markwell, the former owner and operator of the Olympic Animal Sanctuary in Forks, Wash., is behind bars at the Forks City Jail.

Markwell was sent to jail on Monday to serve a 20-day sentence for damaging a vehicle which held a woman who was at his facility protesting the conditions for the dogs who were being held inside of his "sanctuary."

Back in late 2013, the Olympic Animal Sanctuary (OAS) was the subject of an investigative report by KOMO News reporter Jeff Burnside. The sanctuary, which had been intended to provide a safe haven for so-called "unadoptable" dogs, came to be known to many people as a "sanctuary of sorrow," and former volunteers at the facility painted a dismal picture of the conditions inside the pink warehouse where over 100 dogs were stowed.

For months after the release of the report, animal advocates from around the world expressed their outrage over the conditions inside of the facility and demanded that the sanctuary be shut down. During that period of time, city officials claimed that they could do nothing to shut down the facility, or to bring Markwell up on charges, but today, the man who ran the operation is facing some repercussions.

The Washington State Attorney General's office has slapped Markwell with a lawsuit because they allege that he did not register his non-profit dog kennel and they believe that thousands of dollars in donations remain unaccounted for.

Unfortunately, the Forks Mayor believes that there is not enough evidence to charge Markwell with any type of animal cruelty, but the city plans to close the loopholes that allowed so many dogs to remain on one property.

Forks Mayor Bryon Monohon told KOMO News:

Well, we can't keep going the way we've been,"

"If there's been a loophole like and somebody comes in and sets up this shelter like what Steve had - we don't want that again. I mean, I wouldn't wish that on anyone."

In December, Markwell loaded 124 dogs into a truck and headed south to Golden Valley, Ariz. The dogs were handed over to the Guardians of Rescue who worked tirelessly to find reputable rescue agencies to take in the dozens of dogs who were in need of safe haven.

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