Well over 100 dogs, deemed "dangerous," are living in what many are calling a living hell, in Forks, Wash. On Monday, KOMO 4 News published their investigative report into life at the "sanctuary," and their findings are painful to see...difficult to bear.
The Olympic Animal Sanctuary (OAS), referred to by some as a "sanctuary of sorrow," is owned and operated by Steve Markwell.
KOMO 4 investigative reporters recently visited Markwell's sanctuary, but they were refused entry, and denied an interview.
Former volunteers, who have spoken in anonymity, paint a dismal picture of,what they say is, a torturous existence for dogs in the care of OAS.
One former volunteer described OAS to KOMO 4, as:
A hell hole for these animals,"
An absolute nightmare."
Dogs condemned to live out their lives at the sanctuary are reported to be living in small cages, surrounded by squalor, with little or no opportunity for physical activity.
A Forks police officer, who visited OAS last November, described what he said he found inside:
All were crouched, very minimal space,
"an overwhelming odor of urine … so strong that my eyes began to tear up and I began to cough."
Some water bowls were clean, others had "green slimy residue."
"The majority of crated dogs didn't have access to water,"
Despite the disturbing findings, Markwell continues to operate the sanctuary. According to KOMO 4, Markwell and his lawyer threaten those who challenge his operation with defamation suits.
Former volunteers, and individuals who have become aware of the Forks situation, have launched a campaign to help shut the sanctuary down.
Currently, over 8,000 people have signed a petition which calls for an investigation into the Olympic Animal Sanctuary, along with legal action, to help save the dogs at the facility. A Facebook page, designed to shed light on the conditions at OAS has over 4,400 fans.
Forks Mayor Bryon Monohon told KOMO 4 News that the city does not have the funds to fight a legal battle to shut OAS down, and told the news station that there was not enough proof of wrong-doing to obtain a warrant to get inside of the sanctuary.
Some of the people in Forks who support Markwell have stated, with regards to the dogs in his care, that "at least they are alive."
A statement which begs the question, is being alive, despite a miserable existence, enough?
Read more of KOMO 4's investigative report here.
Click here to watch the KOMO 4 News clip which shows the OAS facility.
Link to Forks, Wash., department contacts here.
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I am human; if you see a typo, please let me know. Questions, comments or story ideas can be emailed to Eims1@live.com.