Demand Justice for Mistreated Animals at Sanctuary

Dog cage

Target: Rick Bart, Forks County Police Administrator

Goal: File felony animal cruelty charges against operators of a Washington animal sanctuary

In 2012 police raided the Olympic Animal Sanctuary (OAS) in Forks, Washington and found more than a hundred dogs stacked in crates and emaciated. It was one of the worst cases of animal cruelty and neglect in the state’s history and yet no animal cruelty charges have been filed against the sanctuary’s operator. Such egregious treatment of animals cannot go unpunished and something must be done immediately.

The conditions at Olympic Animal Sanctuary were so deplorable it was nicknamed the “sanctuary of sorrow.” One hundred and twenty-four dogs were found stacked on top each other in small travel crates in a cold, dark, and dilapidated warehouse. According to the 2012 report filed by Folks County Police, the dogs in the sanctuary were housed within travel crates without regular access to water and were only fed raw animal parts once or twice per week.

Forks Police visited the warehouse in December of 2013 for an inspection. Despite witness complaints of a putrid odor coming from the building, no animal cruelty allegations were brought forth. A few days following the inspection, Steve Markwell, owner of OAS transported all of his dogs in a tractor-trailer to Golden, Arizona, where they were taken in by an organization called Guardians of Rescue.

Markwell continues to deny that he had any responsibility in what happened to his dogs and blames animal rights activists. “Beginning a year ago,” he said, ”a disgruntled ex-volunteer whom I fired partnered with extreme ‘animal rights’ groups that oppose all no kill sanctuaries to put OAS out of operation, get our dogs killed, and blame me for it.” As owner of the sanctuary, however, and with only one location, it is unlikely that within the year the volunteer was working, Markwell didn’t visit the premises, alert authorities, or do whatever he could to make sure the animals were given proper care.

The statute of limitations for felony animal cruelty charges in Washington is 3 years so there is still time for Markwell to be held accountable for the incredibly cruel treatment of the dogs at OAS. Sign the petition and demand that animal cruelty charges be filed against him now.


More than one year ago Forks Police found 124 emaciated dogs in a dark and cold warehouse at Olympic Animal Sanctuary. The conditions were so bad the location was nicknamed the “sanctuary of sorrow.” Despite the severity of the animal cruelty perpetrated by owner Steve Markwell, no animal cruelty charges have been filed against him.

This is absolutely unacceptable. Not only is this degree of animal cruelty a felony, any person capable of causing so much harm toward another living thing should not be free to walk the streets. Please file animal cruelty charges against Steve Markwell immediately.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Charlie Chapman 75 via Flickr

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  1. Despina M. Andrelus says:

    Abuse is the ultimate betrayal towards any living soul and absolutely heartbreaking all the way around. You simply can not do such a horrific thing without it killing the best in you. Period. But in case there are any out there who couldn’t care less about torturing animals – which says a lot about you, as well – then think on this: If you find people happily willing to hurt an animal in any way, they are actually finding a venue to act out their deepest, most inner evil fantasies of twisted sickness. There’s nothing more revolting than that. Aside from this, it has been proven over and over again that people who have horrid intents with animals, get bored with them soon enough, ultimately leading them to bigger prey, moving up to people, in order to re-ignite and enhance the excitement that the torturing of animals used to provide. It’s simply never enough. And do not forget, these horrendous monsters also end up raising their children in “the game”, breeding evil, little sickos to continue on “the trade”… no doubt causing abuse in every level of their lives, as well. It’s just a revolting cycle that will never end until someone gets into it and breaks the heart-wrenching pattern. So, even if an animal is not of your (some peoples) utmost concern, then note that it will not stop there. It is just a start. And it is just a matter of time.

  2. Despina M. Andrelus says:

    “A righteous man regards the life of animals” – PROVERBS 12:10; “If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion & pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men” – ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI; “Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.” – MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.; “I hope to make people realize how totally helpless animals are, how dependent on us, trusting as a child must that we will be kind and take care of their needs… (They) are an obligation put on us, a responsibility we have no rights to neglect, nor to violate by cruelty….” – JAMES HARRIOT; “The greatness of a nation & its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated” – MAHATMA GANDHI

  3. We Absolutely Must and Right Now punish all those who were involved in such an evil act against these animals.
    The abusers get off way too often and if even punished, its never severe enough to fit the crime so evil done against the animals. We cannot just keep writing about how bad it all is, nothing really changes then, Punishment, Severe Punishment as Total as it can be, Has to be put upon the guilty NOW—We All Must Demand It, we do have a responsibility to carry this out and get it done.

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