Forks dogs’ location announced as New York-based rescue group takes possession of them

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

GOLDEN VALLEY, Ariz. — The New-York based animal rescue group that has been organizing the care and examinations of 124 dogs from Olympic Animal Sanctuary in an unincorporated Arizona community now owns the animals, the group’s president said Saturday as he announced the location of the dogs.

“We officially have legal possession of the dogs,” said Robert Misseri, president of the New-York-based Guardians of Rescue.

The dogs are being kept at the Rescued Unwanted Furry Friends Foundation shelter in Golden Valley Arizona, Misseri said Saturday, with volunteers from the shelter working the past few days to build additional outdoor fenced kennels to house the dogs.

Golden Valley is an unincorporated community in Mohave County, Arizona, about 23 miles east of Bullhead City.

Misseri had declined to identify the location since Steve Markwell, director of the Forks-based Olympic Animal Sanctuary, arrived there Tuesday with the dogs, saying that non-disclosure was a condition of Marwell working with Guardians of Rescue.

Markwell left Dec. 21 from his Forks-based sanctuary, driving a 53-foot tractor-trailer loaded with the crated animals.

Markwell is still at the Arizona shelter. He is expected to leave Monday, Misseri said.

“He’s not discussed it with us,” Misseri said when asked if he knows what Markwell intends to do next.

Markwell could not immediately be reached for comment Saturday morning.

Misseri said roughly half the dogs so far have been examined by a local veterinarian and his staff.

“The total assessment of the health [of the dogs] is taking longer than expected,” Misseri said.

All the dogs arrived safely, Misseri said.

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.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at
Reporters Paul Gottlieb and Arwyn Rice contributed to this report.

Last modified: December 28. 2013 10:57AM
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