Distribution of former Olympic Animal Shelter dogs underway in Mojave Desert
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Guardians of Rescue
Two dogs from the Olympic Animal Shelter in a kennel at the RUFFF sanctuary in Golden Valley, Ariz.

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

BULLHEAD CITY, Ariz. — A national rescue organization that acquired dogs that once were housed in a Forks warehouse building began distributing some of the animals Monday.

“It's total chaos. We're doing triage here,” said Robert Misseri, president of Smithtown, N.Y.-based Guardians of Rescue.

The two groups receiving some of the 124 Forks dogs trucked to an outdoor shelter on the Mojave Desert floor in Golden Valley, Ariz., were not identified because neither had consented to publicity, he said.

Misseri calls the impromptu site of chain-link kennels and dog runs Rescued Unwanted Furry Friends Foundation — or RUFFF — shelter in Golden Valley, a desert about 23 miles east of Bullhead City.

Olympic Animal Shelter founder Steve Markwell slipped out of Forks in the early morning hours of Dec. 21, in a 53-foot tractor trailer equipped with built-in wood kennels, and arrived at Golden Valley on Christmas Eve to end a 1,300 mile drive.

Guardians of Rescue formally acquired ownership of the dogs last weekend.

Markwell had been under pressure from protesters who began gathering on Dec. 2 at the OAS pink warehouse at 1021 Russell Road in Forks over alleged poor conditions for the dogs inside the two-story building.

Even more animal activists and sympathizers, moved on social media by photos depicting dogs living in travel crates purported to have been taken inside by former volunteers and Forks police, verbally targeted Markwell.

Markwell denied mistreating the animals, many of which were considered violent and unadoptable.

An expected veterinary report on the dogs was not available Monday, Misseri said.

Guardians of Rescue has established a “wish list” on Amazon.com featuring specific needs that it said it was unable to purchase in large quantities in the remote, rural desert region.

It can be accessed through Amazon's Wish List Registry at http://tinyurl.com/gor-wishlist.

For more information about Guardians of Rescue, 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 Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: December 31. 2013 9:16AM
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