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Veterinarian states that some dogs from 'sanctuary' were nearly starved to death

A rescued dog from OAS
Guardians of Rescue via Facebook

According to Friday's KTNV News, a veterinarian who examined and treated several dogs from the Forks, Wash., Olympic Animal Sanctuary, has stated that many of the dogs were nearly starved to death and they showed signs of severe neglect.

After the "sanctuary" owner, Steve Markwell, made his cross country, stealth trek with 124 dogs stowed in the back of a semi-truck, to the RUFFF Sanctuary near the Arizona/Nevada border, much of scrutiny and abuse allegations faded.

Shortly before Markwell's departure from Washington, many individuals who were following the situation and protests had voiced concerns about the mournful cries coming from inside of the warehouse where the dogs were housed - they worried that the dogs were not being fed and wondered why dogs were never seen outside of the building.

After Markwell's road trip, the focus shifted towards the rescue effort for the dogs who were taken under the wing of the rescue agency, Guardians of Rescue.

Now, the observations of Dr. Randy Winn of the VCA Black Mountain Animal Hospital, reveal the true horror these dogs suffered while kenneled inside of the run-down warehouse, aka "sanctuary," in Forks - they also confirm the fears voiced by those people who worried for the dogs' welfare.

Dr. Winn treated dogs who were near death when they arrived to his veterinary hospital - dogs who had lost fat, muscle tone and hope.

Dr. Winn told KTNV News:

At first you'd look in his eyes and there was nobody there,

The veterinarian estimated that the dogs had been deprived of food for weeks - not days - weeks.

He said that some dogs were so dirty and matted that they had to be sedated to be shaved down, others were having seizures as a result of the malnutrition; he stated:

I've seen some neglect cases, but they were never this bad,"

One neglected pit bull, named "Buddy," has huge pressure sores littering his wasted body.

Staunch supporters of the "sanctuary" insisted that the undercover investigation by KOMO News in Washington, showed old photos and conditions - that the dogs were no longer confined to small, filthy crates and they were not being starved.

Dr. Winn's exams reveal the true horror that the dogs were subjected to.

Today, many of the dogs have been transferred to alternate rescues who have been approved by Guardians of Rescue.

However, dozens are still in need. On Monday morning, the rescue agency updated their Facebook page with photos of the dogs who are still waiting for their own "happy tail."

It does not seem that Markwell will ever face any repercussions for his treatment of the dogs - the city officials in Forks gave him a pass when he was there, and now that the dogs are gone, the entire matter seems to have been swept under the proverbial rug.

Click here to watch 13 Action News video clip.

Guardians of Rescue website here.

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