This is an ongoing blog about the quest to free Sonny and the other 124 dogs trapped in the Olympic Animal Sanctuary in Forks, Washington.
Dogs Deserve Better founder Tamira Thayne and rescue coordinator Robin Budin traveled 3000 miles to Forks, Washington and stayed from December 3-15 in order to advocate for the release of Sonny and the other dogs living in squalid conditions at the warehouse at 1021 Russell Rd.
Read previous blog posts for the history and article links. Articles read and contributing to this post are as follows:
From Tamira Thayne, DDB Founder and CEO:
I got back to my home in Virginia Monday, December 16th around noon, after being bumped from a late flight in Charlotte, NC and forced to overnight there and finish the trip in the a.m.
I was slated to appear by phone in Forks for a hearing on my violation of the bogus restraining order that day (the real violation was of my constitutionally protected right to free speech), but it turned out it was postponed until January 13th.
That seems to be all they do in Forks, postpone the hearings until the next month. I, unfortunately, know because I spent most of the day there on Monday, December 9th listening to case after case being postponed until a magical date in January when everything would presumably be postponed again.
So I get home and am immediately rushed into my ‘real’ life back in Virginia, which includes Christmas in only 9 days and me without a single gift bought; and, my husband’s birthday in 3 days, and me without a single gift bought. (Except for that Forks police pen I brought home for him. The man loves pens, what better souvenir than one from the Forks city jail? Yes, they gave it to me, I didn’t steal it.)
Tuesday Joe and I get up early (I so wanted to sleep in just one day) and drive the 200 miles to the DDB Good Newz Rehab Center for Chained and Penned Dogs in Smithfield, Virginia to pay a brief visit, make sure all is running ok under the tutelage of Director of Operations Mark Hyre, and drop off the remainder of a pallet of dog food we had donated.
We’ve been extremely blessed in the past 1.5 years to have had most of our dog food donated, and most of it has been high quality—double bonus. I believe in feeding the best quality food we can afford, and if it is donated and it’s high quality, that’s all the better.
But it wasn’t always that way for us, and it could change in the blink of an eye. One day you have great food donated, the next you’re at the Dollar Store buying the best food your $10 can afford.
And while the dogs’ health may be affected in the end game by run-of-the-mill dog foods, in the short game it’s more important to put food in your rescue dogs’ stomachs than put your nose in the air and say a prim “No thank you, we feed grain free (or raw, or whatever it may be) only.”
I mean, really… if you’re a starving dog, and you actually ENJOY the taste of cat poop anyway, would you rather eat an inferior dog food or no dog food at all?
Pretty sure they’re voting for inferior each and every time.
And if you live in your own feces and are unlucky enough to be in the bottom crate and live in not only your own urine but also the dog above you’s urine, and you really just want to die anyway, but you have this pesky will to live that keeps you hoping for a better tomorrow, are you insisting on grain free dog food, or will any old dog food do?
In reading Robert Pregulman’s blog posts on Seattledogspot.com, I’ve been repeatedly struck by Markwell’s conversations about dog food. Markwell has email conversations with people about how you must feed high quality diets, he has conversations in the video with the people who he actually allowed into the facility in April 2013 about high quality dog food (while they’re watching dogs they sent there running around in the grass like they’ve never seen it before), and he even requests GRAIN FREE food in this recent article on December 16, 2013: http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20131216/NEWS/312169998/not-fast-enough-protesters-of-dog-shelter-say-of-plans-to-move
All I can think is, IS THIS GUY BATSHIT CRAZY?
You’re written about in this very same paper daily, and not in a flattering light. Countless stories, photos, and witness tales intersect and are spread on facebook, on blogs, in newscasts; you’re criticized for your treatment of the dogs in your unheated warehouse, you claim to be unable to feed your dogs because of the protestors, but then you tell the local newspaper that if you want to bring food for the dogs I am holding hostage, make it grain free?
Would you like a little Grey Poupon with that, Mr. Markwell?
Even in the police report, there are photos and talk of boxes of raw chicken necks that are sitting UNREFRIGERATED and people have reported being forced to give the dogs food with maggots in it. Maggots.
What level of sanity requests GRAIN FREE food for dogs you have stuck in crates in their own feces?
I am struck again by this definition of a hoarder that I posted on our webpage about the case at http://dogsdeservebetter.org/sonny.html.
Relevant points from this paper entitled Animal Hoarding: Slipping into the Darkness of Co-Morbid Animal and Self-Neglect, Jane N. Nathanson, LCSW, LRC, CRC
• Animal hoarding’s distinct characteristics are defined by the following three operational features: (1) having more than the typical number of companion animals; (2) inability to provide even minimal standards of nutrition, sanitation, shelter, and veterinary care, with this neglect often resulting in starvation, illness, and death; and (3) denial of the inability to provide this minimum care and the impact of that failure on the animals, the household and human occupants of the dwelling (Patronek, 1999).
• Problems that occur: (1) numbers of animals in excess of their capacity and/or willingness to consistently provide satisfactory caregiving; (2) the numbers of animals exceed their spatial requirements and interferes with the person’s safe mobility; and/or (3) the numbers of poorly cared for animals are creating an environment that is toxic – i.e. as may be related to bacterial disease, respiratory illness, zoonotic disease, insect and vermin infestation.
• Even if these individuals were offered help to improve themselves or their surroundings, they would likely refuse or at least be highly resistant to making any changes…With deteriorating conditions compromising the health and well being of all involved, animal hoarders become entrenched in a behavior that is extremely resistant to change. Denying any actual or potential risks, they ferociously defend this turf, while being unaware or dismissive of the violations of animal protection laws and public health regulations.
Seems to me, this is exactly what we’re dealing with. Now, how do we fix it when local powers that be are not doing what needs to be done?
Isn’t that the million dollar question.
It’s been very hard to come back this week and resume my normal life, knowing what I’ve seen firsthand and know is happening daily in a warehouse in Forks, Washington.
I took my dog Sloan for a walk along our river today, and carried my cat Tuna half the way, because he insists on coming along and then whines about it. I try to release the feelings of anxiety over the Forks situation because I am praying that those who are mediating for the release of the dogs will be successful.
It’s hard for me not to feel guilty that my dog Sloan has it so good. He has two kuranda beds with comfy blankets that are washed as needed, he is king of the household and gets all the doggie attention here, and he gets to run off leash on our walks along the river and stream.
He didn’t always have it good. Sloan was rescued from a chain by Dogs Deserve Better in 2011, and I know he (and EVERY dog) deserves every bit of good that is in his world these days.
BUT SO DO THE DOGS TRAPPED AT OAS. So does Sonny, who was rescued from his chain and then landed in a place worse than hell.
I hear snippets and rumors that the dogs are being given up and it’s still in the works, but nothing has yet been substantiated.
Meanwhile, I implore you NOT TO STOP PROTESTING, NOT TO STOP WRITING, NOT TO STOP ADVOCATING FOR THESE DOGS. We cannot, as we are their only voices.
There is a large protest scheduled for this Sunday, December 22, 2013. What better gift for the dogs of the Olympic Animal Sanctuary than to take time out of your busy schedule and go to Forks to protest on their behalf? Read more about it here: