Jump Around and Hug Your Dog, Because Today Leroy Won his FREEDOM!

Photo of Leroy posted on the OAS-Life Inside the Sanctuary Facebook page

Photo of Leroy posted on the OAS-Life Inside the Sanctuary Facebook page

I swear, I’m so excited it’s like I won the lottery, and I had nothing whatsoever to do with Leroy’s freedom win today.

That was all the courage of AARF and Attorney Adam Karp, and I want to thank them on behalf of Dogs Deserve Better and our supporters who are watching this so closely. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

From the OAS-Life Inside the Sanctuary Page: “Transfer of Leroy is to take place at 6:30 at City Hall.

The ruling was that Leroy was a foster and that Olympic Animal Sanctuary does not have the right to keep the dog. There was no case of AARF abandoning the animal as Steve Markwell tried to claim.

We will let you know as soon as Leroy’s paws touch the ground of freedom!”

Leroy’s victory is a victory for all of us who care about the dogs stuffed in crates in this warehouse at 1021 Rusell Rd. in Forks, Washington. He gives us hope, and knowing that ONE of the 125 dogs is now free gives us the strength to continue the fight.


In other news from today, Seattledogspot.com posted another insightful investigative blog about why Markwell’s mother is fair game in the plan to free these dogs. He states, “Since Ms. Hawkins owns the property where these unfortunate dogs are forced to live in filth, OAS pays her $1000 per month in rent. That means over the course of the 6 years and 4 months OAS has operated, Ms. Hawkins has made the tidy sum of $78,000.

Read the full article here, and attend the protest if you are in the area and OAS hasn’t released the dogs by then: http://www.seattledogspot.com/blog/dog-blog/post/steve-markwells-mother-makes-big-money-as-owner-of-olympic-animal-sanctuary

And lastly, Best Friends Animal Society last night released a very thoughtful and measured statement about what and how they are willing to help Markwell. I applaud them for standing WITH the dogs and not allowing themselves to be bullied into anything, but taking a stand and offering what help they can.

We all stand ready to help rescue these dogs, and groups from all over have been stepping up and offering to take one or more of the dogs. When we get the green light, every group who placed dogs there and wants them returned will be chomping at the bit to pick up their dogs and make amends for our errors.

Below is the statement in full from Best Friends:

“Based on the information being reported, the situation at Olympic Animal Sanctuary (OAS) appears to be quite dire, and we at Best Friends share the deep concern so many of you have about the dogs living there. With a reported 125 dogs having varying levels of behavioral and medical issues in need of placement, the stark truth is that it will take many rescue organizations working together to deal with this situation.

On Tuesday, December 17th, we spoke with Steve Markwell’s attorney and requested detailed information about the dogs at OAS and what Mr. Markwell was asking of Best Friends. We then received a brief email from Mr. Markwell himself on the 18th. Neither interaction provided any specifics about either the dogs (number, condition, temperament, etc.) or about Mr. Markwell’s ultimate intentions. For example, we do not know if he intends to divest himself of all dogs in his care and then permanently close OAS, or if he intends to simply start fresh and begin bringing in new animals once the current population is gone.

Although we have asked for additional details, at this time, we have not received this key information from either Mr. Markwell or his attorney. In our opinion and professional judgment, the best chance for ensuring the welfare of the dogs is for Mr. Markwell to open wide the doors of the facility and allow all qualified organizations to help immediately and unconditionally.

If Mr. Markwell agrees to accept help from all willing and qualified rescues, and if he agrees not to take in any more dogs at his existing facility or any other, here is what we at Best Friends are prepared to do to help:

1. Assuming that there are dogs within the OAS population who can safely live within a group housing environment, we believe we will be able to accept several such dogs at our no-kill sanctuary in Kanab. As usual, we are operating our own sanctuary at capacity, and it would simply be irresponsible of us to take in more dogs than we can safely accommodate. We have limited facilities suitable for dogs who cannot live in group housing. Currently, these facilities are full, and there is already a waiting list of dogs who require that type of living situation.

2. We are willing to network, spreading the word to other like-minded rescue groups about the dogs in need at OAS. In fact, we have already heard from several groups who are willing to help. We are also willing to help with transporting the dogs to qualified groups. We believe that if Mr. Markwell agrees to be transparent and open about the situation at OAS, many more groups will step forward to save lives.

We understand that many of you are eager to see this situation improved for the dogs, and we will make you aware of any opportunities to help them should things evolve.”

Keep protesting! We will NOT give up. Here is where you can find details about Sunday’s protest. Please attend if possible:


Tamira Thayne