Animal rescue group seeks more kennels for dogs from Forks

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

Organizers with New-York-based Guardians of Rescue have exhausted their supply of fenced kennels to keep 124 dogs from Olympic Animal Sanctuary contained while the animals from Forks are examined in an undisclosed location in the Southwest, the rescue group’s president said today (Friday).

Robert Misseri, president of the New York group, said shelter workers have bought all the fenced kennels they can find from stores such as Lowe’s Home Improvement and Home Depot in the area surrounding the site on the Arizona-Nevada border where the dogs are being kept.

“We’ve bought every one we could possible buy from the big box stores,” Misseri said in a Friday phone interview from the undisclosed site.

“We’ve emptied them out, and have contacted multiple fence companies, but they can’t get here soon enough.”

Dogs that cannot yet be put in outdoor, fenced kennels are being held in large dog crates, Misseri added.

“Some dogs can be paired up, but the majority of them cannot,” he said.

Steve Markwell, director of the Forks-based Olympic Animal Sanctuary, is also on site helping identify specific dogs so all the animals can be transferred to the possession of Guardians of Rescue, Misseri said.

This process involves reviewing a great deal of paperwork associated with the dogs, Misseri added.

“We expect it to be done by the end of today [Friday],” he said.

Markwell did not return calls seeking comment Friday.

Markwell left Saturday from his Forks-based sanctuary, driving a 53-foot tractor-trailer loaded with the crated animals and arrived with them to a site near the Nevada-Arizona border on Tuesday afternoon.

Misseri declined to give the location of the holding site, citing a non-disclosure agreement with Markwell, but said it’s at the property of an established animal shelter in the area.

“We expect to announce the name of the sanctuary the beginning of next week,” Misseri said.

Workers with this local shelter have been the main labor force behind setting up the kennels, Misseri said.

Many of the dogs have a history of violence toward humans or other animals.

At Olympic Animal Sanctuary, dogs Markwell described as not “realistically adoptable” because of their behavior were housed in a 5,120-square-foot warehouse at 1021 Russell Road in Forks.

Protesters had gathered there daily since early December to protest what they said were the sanctuary’s inhumane conditions.

Photos depicting dogs living in travel crates purported to have been taken inside by former volunteers and Forks police have been at the center of a nationwide Facebook campaign to shut it down for more than a year.

Markwell has denied mistreating the animals.

Misseri said Guardians of Rescue is still seeking donations to help fund food, kennels and veterinarian care for all the animals.

For more information about Guardians of Rescue or to donate funds to help feed, house and distribute the Olympic Animal Sanctuary dogs, phone 888-287-3864 or visit the organization’s website at www.guardiansofrescue.org.
Qualified rescue organizations willing to take one or more of the dogs can contact the organization at info.guardiansofrescue.org.
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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.
Reporter Arwyn Rice contributed to this report.

Last modified: December 27. 2013 5:00PM
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