Would you like a little Grey Poupon with that, Mr. Markwell?

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.

http://dogsdeservebetter.org/sonny.html

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:

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20131216/NEWS/312169998/not-fast-enough-protesters-of-dog-shelter-say-of-plans-to-move

http://www.seattledogspot.com/blog/dog-blog/post/despite-markwells-statement-suffering-of-dogs-at-olympic-animal-sanctuary-far-from-over

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20131218/NEWS/312189982/update-8212-olympic-animal-sanctuary-director-talking-to-groups-in

http://www.seattledogspot.com/blog/dog-blog/post/video-of-steve-markwell-inside-olympic-animal-sancturary-april-2013

http://www.seattledogspot.com/blog/dog-blog/post/forks-officials-ignored-report-of-abuse-at-olympic-animal-sanctuary-in-april-2013

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20131219/news/312199983

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.

Ummm, ok.

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.

This image of the dog urine hardened on the top of this crate sitting outside at OAS is all it takes for me.

This image of the dog urine hardened on the top of this crate sitting outside at OAS is all it takes for me to know things are very, very wrong at this warehouse.

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.

Sloan on our walk today along the river

Sloan on our walk today along the river

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.

Sloan on his chain, before he was freed by DDB

Sloan on his chain, before he was freed by DDB

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.

Sonny before rescue, when he ended up in an even worse place

Sonny before rescue, and now he has ended up in an even worse place

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:

http://www.seattledogspot.com/blog/dog-blog/post/protest-against-olympic-animal-sanctuary-set-for-this-sunday

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Is Markwell Really going to Give Up the Dogs?

Well, that remains to be seen, doesn’t it.

It was all the scuttlebutt today. Word on the net is that Markwell is now set to give up the dogs that belong to OAS, but of course he has stipulations.

Here’s an article about it, and it contains his full statement: http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20131214/news/312149975/olympic-animal-sanctuary-to-close-its-operator-says

Poor guy, just so beat up by us mean old protestors who have nothing better to do with our time…

If you’re tempted to believe him, first take a gander at this photo I snapped at the warehouse at 1021 Russell Rd. in Forks, Washington, today before leaving the area. What do you think that is on top of the dog crate?

Pretty sure it’s hardened, crystalized dog piss. That means this was a bottom crate, and the dog in the crate on top pissed in his or her crate daily and it ran down and eventually formed this crust.

You don’t get a crust like this from a day or a week. That took awhile to form.

Still pitying Steve, or maybe there’s now a spot of pity for whatever dogs were forced to urinate daily in their bed and their living quarters and the dogs who were unlucky enough to be BELOW the dog forced to urinate in their bed and their living quarters?

Crate with hardened dog piss #1

Crate with hardened dog piss #1

A closer version because God Knows this is something you've always wanted to see up close and personal.

A closer version because God Knows this is something you’ve always wanted to see up close and personal.

Same crate from the other side, photo taken earlier in the trip before it was moved, allowing the front side to be exhibited

Same crate from the other side, photo taken earlier in the trip before it was moved, allowing the front side to be exhibited

Let’s see a show of hands, who believes the lies now? Anyone?

Steve Markwell was seen going into the warehouse for a total of 4 minutes this morning. That was the ONLY time since we arrived on the 4th that any of us have seen him enter the building. Most days there is one kid who enters for maybe an hour at a time and then comes back out and sits in his truck.

Is it too cold to stay in there? Too smelly? Maybe both.

I feel badly for Best Friends, because they are being set up to take the fall if they can’t handle all 125 dogs Markwell is pushing on them and the conditions he has set in order to release his hostages.

For now, let’s sit back and see how this all plays out.

A HUGE THANK YOU to the wonderful folks who made time today—when you probably wanted to be Christmas shopping or decorating your tree or any one of the fun things you’d really prefer to be doing instead of driving hours to Forks, Washington—to stand with a sign in the cold drizzle in front of a warehouse at 1021 Russell Rd. on behalf of the dogs trapped inside. May you be blessed this holiday season.

I appreciate you, and I know you will continue this crusade, continue the protests, until we have satisfaction for every remaining dog in that warehouse.

Thank you, and to everyone who is outraged and writing and calling over and over again. You rock.

Tamira Thayne, founder and CEO, Dogs Deserve Better

Mouth mask laying over by the fence. Need any more proof that it stinks so bad it burns your nose and mouth inside the building?

Mouth mask laying over by the fence. Need any more proof that it stinks so bad it burns your nose and mouth inside the building?

Wonderful group of protestors today, thank you for giving your time for the dogs

Wonderful group of protestors today, thank you for giving your time for the dogs

Robin and the ladies before we left to return to the East coast

Robin and the ladies before we left to return to the East coast

Another shot at some of the holes in the walls of the warehouse

Another shot at some of the holes in the walls of the warehouse

You can vaguely see a dog in the window. Seems there were four dogs in the window today, but again, NO ONE INSIDE. It was so sad to see each of the dogs licking at the window to try to get any condensation to quench their thirst. And I guarantee you those were the comparatively lucky dogs. At least they weren't in a crate being pissed on from above.

You can vaguely see a dog in the window. Seems there were four dogs in the window today, but again, NO ONE INSIDE. It was so sad to see each of the dogs licking at the window to try to get any condensation to quench their thirst. And I guarantee you those were the comparatively lucky dogs. At least they weren’t in a crate being pissed on from above.

A Day of Restraint and Lack Thereof

Tamira Thayne with Maggie McDowell, both ladies have suffered in the protest of OAS. Tamira was hit with a restraining order and then arrested when she violated it to continue the protest, and Maggie was allegedly attacked by Markwell while in her vehicle resulting in his arrest and a restraining order against him.

Tamira Thayne with Maggie McDowell, both ladies have suffered in the protest of OAS. Tamira was hit with a restraining order and then arrested when she violated it to continue the protest, and Maggie was allegedly attacked by Markwell while in her vehicle resulting in his arrest and a restraining order against him.

December 12, 2013 was a day marked by intense strife and struggle for both protestors of the Olympic Animal Sanctuary and Steve Markwell, founder of the organization, in Forks, Washington.

It was a day showcasing both restraint and lack of restraint, and highlighting the polar opposite sides of humanity.

For a history of the struggle for justice for the dogs of OAS, visit this Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/OAS-life-inside-the-sanctuary/396180077155674

Visit this Facebook page for up to date info on the ongoing protests at OAS: https://www.facebook.com/ProtestOAS?ref=br_tf

Read the previous blog entries for background to the case, and visit our webpage at http://www.dogsdeservebetter.org/sonny.html and this Facebook page to learn more about the situation or to donate for legal fees incurred by DDB in our quest to free Sonny and friends.

Some recent blog and media links to what is happening:

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20131213/NEWS/312139975/owner-of-forks-dog-sanctuary-freed-from-jail-on-own-recognizance-due

http://www.seattledogspot.com/blog/dog-blog/post/officials-play-pass-the-buck-while-dogs-at-olympic-animal-sanctuary-suffer

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Police-arrest-head-of-controversial-dog-warehouse-after-violent-outburst-235670751.html

http://www.seattledogspot.com/blog/dog-blog/post/former-donor-files-lawsuit-against-olympic-animal-sanctuary-for-misuse-of-50000-donation

This is Tamira Thayne’s take on December 11th and 12th, 2013:

On December 11th, myself, DDB Rescue Coordinator Robin Budin, Robert Pregulman from Seattle Dogspot, with NY attorney Susan Chana Lask, Esq. (participating via phone. https://www.facebook.com/SusanChanaLaskEsq) met in Port Angeles with Clallam County Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Mark Nichols, Undersheriff Ron Peregrin, and Tracy Kellas, Clallam County Animal Control Officer.

I am grateful that they took the time to meet with us, because, as we’ve learned, those who don’t want to understand our struggle do not give us the time of day, and this includes Mayor Monohon and city attorney Rod Fleck of Forks, Washington.

These men, the two most important in terms of the decision not to pursue cruelty charges against Markwell with regards to treatment of dogs at OAS, never responded to our requests for a meeting and didn’t allow us even one minute each to talk at the town council meeting to elucidate our concerns.

Therefore, regardless of who may or may not be trying to pull the wool over our eyes, I remain grateful to those who at least took our concerns seriously enough to meet with us.

Police in Forks, including the police chief Rick Bart, have treated us fairly and kindly at all junctures. I will not falsely throw anyone under the bus, and even when asked what the name of my arresting officer was by supporters online I would not give it in an effort to protect his identity. He was only doing what he believes to be his job.

The most important thing this Clallam County meeting did for me was help me understand county politics in regards to who takes responsibility for what. In the simplest terms, let me lay it out for you:

Clallam County District Attorney’s office prosecutes all felonies in the entire county. Period. They also prosecute misdemeanors, but for the city folk of Forks, ONLY when they occur in conjunction with felonies.

In the rural areas of the county and in Port Angeles (I believe, since that is where they are located), they prosecute both felonies and misdemeanors. In the three incorporated cities of the county—which includes Forks—misdemeanors are prosecuted by city attorneys. In Forks we’re talking about Rod Fleck.

Clallam County Sheriff’s office investigates crimes in all areas of the county with the exception of the incorporated cities. In the cities, the city police are responsible for investigating crimes, both misdemeanor and felony. If they ASK for assistance from the county sheriff’s office, they normally receive the assistance, but it needs to be requested.

If Forks ASKS for assistance from Clallam County Animal Control, it will be given, but they have to request it.

We were told this isn’t a hard and fast rule or law, but it’s a matter of respecting the boundaries and working together to make the justice system work. (or not work, as the case may be.)

When the police went into Olympic Animal Sanctuary in November 2012, every single dog who was living in a travel crate would have been in violation of space laws in Washington state. Here’s that law:

2) 16.52.207 (Second degree cruelty).
Here is the language to use:
A person is guilty of animal cruelty in the second degree if, under circumstances not amounting to first degree animal cruelty, the person knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence inflicts unnecessary suffering or pain upon an animal.

(2) An owner of an animal is guilty of animal cruelty in the second degree if, under circumstances not amounting to first degree animal cruelty, the owner knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence:

(a) Fails to provide the animal with necessary shelter, rest, sanitation, space, or medical attention and the animal suffers unnecessary or unjustifiable physical pain as a result of the failure;

In addition, there were many other cruelty infractions observed, including the odor and lack of food and water, and that was without examining each individual dog, which I feel sure if done correctly would have elicited many, many more counts of cruelty. At least one for each dog.

It seems to me in understanding what occurred and why, the officer and Forks police should have gotten a warrant immediately after that visit and went back in based on what was seen when invited in.

I remain critical of Forks police for failing to step up at that point and do the proper investigation despite Steve Markwell immediately lawyering up and threatening lawsuits. This was a critical juncture and this was where a political breakdown occurred in the city and allowed this abuse to continue.

Apparently if they had seized the dogs, they would have had to remain in Forks unless Steve Markwell willingly gave them up to rescue, and I believe that was a major logistical stumbling block for Forks police.

Rightly or wrongly, Mark Nichols office examined the evidence for FELONY charges, and didn’t feel it met the burden of proof. So the County kicked it back down to the city of Forks for prosecution. This means that it was up to Rod Fleck to charge for misdemeanor cruelty infractions. For whatever reason, the single ticket was never issued, and the fight for justice for the dogs trapped in OAS has continued to this day.

I hope this breakdown helps you understand the levels of responsibility. It was immensely helpful to me.

On Thursday, December 12, 2013, Robin Budin and I had an 11:00 hearing for our bogus restraining orders in Forks City Hall. We had retained Seattle animal lawyer Adam Karp, who is also the attorney for the Leroy case against OAS (taking place in Port Angeles today, December 13) and for the Sherri Maddox case, where she gave OAS $50,000 for a new sanctuary and it was spent elsewhere. Note there are article discussing this above.

I’ve had all too much experience with attorneys since I started Dogs Deserve Better, and I can say that Adam Karp is one of the finest attorneys I’ve ever worked with. He is conscientious and hard-working, and I trusted him to handle our case to the very best of his abilities.

Since Markwell fired his attorney, Mr. Karp has had a very difficult time serving him with papers in any of his cases, as he takes off as soon as he sees someone nearing to serve him.

Mr. Karp explained to me that the restraining orders obtained against myself and Robin Budin should fall under Anti-SLAPP laws in Washington state. These laws basically state that you cannot obtain a restraining order against someone in order to prevent them from exercising their rights to free speech. This is exactly what happened to Robin Budin and myself, as we journeyed 3000 miles to protest the treatment of the dogs at the warehouse and ask for Sonny to be returned to DDB, and so Adam filed casework immediately to have our case reviewed for Anti-SLAPP before being judged on the merits of the case.

If we were to win this motion, Steve Markwell would be liable for our attorney fees as well as $10,000 in damages apiece. (I know, it’s like getting blood from a stone.) However, for me it’s not about the money but about the injustice, and so I want to pursue this matter to the very end.

No one should be allowed to slap someone with a restraining order to silence them. We have free speech rights in America for a reason, and anyone who manipulates the system to interfere with these rights should be punished.

Even Westboro Baptist Church, no matter how heinous their message, has repeatedly won legal battles to protest their rights to free speech.

That matter is still under advisement with the judge in the case. For the actual restraining orders, Markwell never showed up for court, and so they were dismissed.

That’s not to say that the criminal matter against myself for violating said bogus restraining order has been dismissed. It is scheduled for Monday, and I am to appear by phone with my criminal Attorney Stan Myers appearing in person on my behalf.

It is highly ironic that I come to Forks to protest the failure to arrest Steve Markwell for the ongoing conditions and treatment of 125 dogs at OAS, get arrested in the pursuit of my freedom of speech, get the bogus restraining order dropped, but still have a criminal charge against ME while Steve Markwell walks free.

Robin Budin and Tamira Thayne are excited to make it back out to the protest after their restraining orders are dismissed. Nine wonderful women protested in the freezing rain all day on December 12. A HUGE thank you to these women for going above and beyond in service to the dogs. Protesting in the rain is miserable.

Robin Budin and Tamira Thayne are excited to make it back out to the protest after their restraining orders are dismissed. Nine wonderful women protested in the freezing rain all day on December 12. A HUGE thank you to these women for going above and beyond in service to the dogs. Protesting in the rain is miserable.

Speaking of Steve Markwell and FREEDOM, on the morning of December 12, 2013, protestor Maggie McDowell was in the area of OAS walking down the road and her vehicle was parked across from the warehouse. This is not my story to tell, it’s Maggie’s, but the bottom line is that she made it into her vehicle, and then he allegedly kicked out the reflector on her vehicle and was hitting the windows, screaming “Get the Fuck out of here” while she sat inside terrified.

Luckily a police cruiser just happened by at that time and Steve Markwell was arrested and charged with Malicious Mischief in the Third Degree. He was released and Maggie obtained a restraining order against Steve Markwell.

I will point out that Maggie’s restraining order keeps Steve Markwell at 50 ft. from her, after he allegedly attacked and damaged her vehicle and terrified her, yet the restraining orders against two women holding signs saying “We’re here for our tour” and “We’d like to see Sonny now” kept us to 500 ft. away, because we are obviously MUCH more terrifying than Steve Markwell.

Eh-hem.

Steve Markwell makes sure everyone knows he carries a gun. Even police chief Rick Bart warned us he carries a gun around his ankle and told us to be careful. I’m grateful that Maggie is ok, and I am sorry that she had to live with the fear of what was happening in that moment.

Protestors all told sat in front of OAS continuously yesterday for 13.5 hours. During these 13.5 hours, NOT ONE SINGLE SOUL WENT INTO THAT WAREHOUSE TO TAKE CARE OF THE DOGS.

NOT ONE.

Not only that, but the barking was much less, sounding like there were only 15-20 dogs inside, and the rumors are swirling that he has been seen removing dogs in the middle of the night on more than one occasion this week. The debris in front of the building is different, and the crack in the wall appears different.

See the photos below:

This is the big door crack on December 4th.

This is the big door crack on December 4th.

This is the same crack on December 12th. The right side is pulled out further.

This is the same crack on December 12th. The right side is pulled out further.

This is the way the outside of the big doors looked on Dec. 4th

This is the way the outside of the big doors looked on Dec. 4th

This is the way it appears on December 12th. It seems to me to be placed back in the approximate position so as not to raise alarm that it's been opened.

This is the way it appears on December 12th. It seems to me to be placed back in the approximate position so as not to raise alarm that it’s been opened.

From this evidence and rumors one would hypothesize that he is getting out of town—which none of us care about, and I’d imagine Forks is quite happy about—except for the fact that he’s taking the dogs with him.

No one is stupid enough to expect that wherever he is taking the dogs they will have better lives, if he fails to care for them effectively now.

Those of us who bear the responsibility for placing a dog with that organization and are lined up requesting they be returned to us will now only suffer more wondering where they are.

Caring dog lovers the world over who have agonized over the plight of these dogs since the situation has received more publicity in recent months will now live in anguish this holiday season wondering where these dogs are and what is happening to them.

One of my supposed Facebook ‘friends’ wrote SHAME ON YOU on my wall the other day because our group placed a dog with OAS. Thanks, that’s just what I needed to hear while I’m out here fighting for his rights every day.

While I want to be clear that I was NOT the one who personally placed Sonny with OAS and didn’t really put two and two together that someone from my group had placed him at this controversial place until September of 2013, I have been careful not to throw anyone under the bus because I do not personally know exactly what happened.

Our reps had a lot of autonomy for decision-making in their areas, and they were trusted to make the best decisions under the circumstances that they could at the time.

The blame game doesn’t get you very far when you’re talking about 1.5 years ago, because what is done is done. The only thing we can do now is try to fix it.

I would imagine each player in this situation—except for Steve Markwell—feels shame and responsibility and wishes they had done differently. I feel shame and wish that the organization I founded, Dogs Deserve Better, had not failed Sonny.

But we did.

Dogs Deserve Better Seattle reps and volunteers at that time believed in Steve Markwell. He was in People Magazine, for God’s sake, held up as an EXPERT for dangerous dogs! Many, many people made the same mistake, and God forbid there are still people who believe the lie.

Our people fell for the sham, and while I wish I could say I would have done things differently had I been the one making the decision, I’m the world’s worst judge of character, so who knows. The things I’ve seen since starting Dogs Deserve Better would raise the hair on any normal human being, and make me question every single day my ability to see people clearly.

The biggest mistake people representing our organization made was failing to personally SEE his facility before placing a dog there. We have a rule for our reps that all foster homes or situations must be thoroughly checked out before releasing a dog, and this rule was broken because they trusted Steve Markwell and OAS. They believed the sham.

As a result, Sonny has suffered for over 1.5 years in a worse situation than he was pulled from. For that I can never be sorry enough, can never feel enough shame, and can never make it up to him.

I am doing the only thing I can do at this point, rather than wallow in shame and guilt: standing up, admitting our error, and fighting for justice for him and the other 124 dogs trapped in that warehouse with him.

Now that my restraining order has been lifted, I have some words for Steve Markwell, if he can take time from scratching his nuts long enough to read them (his words, not mine). I know that he will not hear them nor will he do the right thing as a result, but I would be remiss if I didn’t at least say them:

“I have seen your setup from the outside with my own eyes. I have stood before your facility on as many days as your bogus restraining order allowed me to.

I have not been allowed inside, and that’s because you have a lot to hide. What I have seen is even worse than I imagined, and I am appalled that you have been allowed to continue this behavior, as a human being, and as a nonprofit executive director.

I protested today again once the order was lifted, in the rain, with the other nine brave women who stood all day in the freezing rain asking you to do the right thing.

I have never once in all this time seen, nor has anyone else protesting, you enter YOUR OWN FACILITY.

You are a nonprofit founder. This requires not only fortitude but an enduring moral compass for right and wrong.

What you are doing is wrong. If it were not wrong you would be all too proud to show us.

You cannot, cannot, cannot believe for one moment in your soul that leaving a dog in a crate FOR IT’S ENTIRE LIFE, EVERY MOMENT OF EVERY DAY, IS OK.

I could say so much more, but instead I will implore you, on behalf of the dogs, to stop this pressure cooker now by doing the right thing.

Let the dogs go back to the rescues who sent them there under the false belief that they were going to a sanctuary. Let us make it up to them, let us right our failures, for all the suffering they have endured.

Let them go, and we will walk away and never utter your name again. Take up a career that doesn’t cause harm to beings you are responsible for.

Let them go to groups who want to help them, who want to give them the lives they deserve.

Return Sonny to Dogs Deserve Better.

You are not a man who owns 125 dogs who are your property to do with what you will.

You are a nonprofit executive director who is entrusted with the care of the dogs that belong under the wings, care, and auspices of the nonprofit Olympic Animal Sanctuary.

All dog lovers in America are uniting against your behavior as the founder of this nonprofit, and I am calling for the board of OAS to remove you promptly from your position as Executive Director and release the dogs to rescue.

Let them go. Just let them go.”

I am asking EVERYONE to flood the Board of Directors of OAS with demands to remove Steve Markwell as Executive Director of the organization. Please drop them an e-mail at business@olympicanimalsanctuary.org today to insist on this nonprofit operating at on above-board level and releasing these dogs—owned by the organization, NOT STEVE MARKWELL—to rescue.

Thank you.

–Tamira Thayne, founder and CEO, Dogs Deserve Better

The Ploy to Silence Protestors has Backfired

This is a blog about the protest of Olympic Animal Sanctuary in Forks, Washington, where a confirmed 125 dogs (sole employee confirmed this information to a protestor) are living in cages, never walked, never going outside, never leaving in many cases what is a tiny, confining crate.

To visit the Seattle Dogspot Blog, whose creator came out this week to see for himself, go to this link. He is writing about this daily at this time: http://www.seattledogspot.com/blog/dog-blog/post/olympic-animal-sanctuary-just-a-jail-for-dogs

To read the history and see photos and police reports, visit this facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/OAS-life-inside-the-sanctuary/396180077155674

To read the history of Dogs Deserve Better’s attempts to help and gain return of a dog our organization sent there 1.5 years ago or to donate for our legal fees incurred from fighting for Sonny’s freedom, visit this link: http://www.dogsdeservebetter.org/sonny.html.

I want to take time this morning to thank everyone who has made this issue blow up. It has been a combined effort of a ton of people all helping in their own ways. I’m very hesitant to name ANY names on this blog anymore besides Robin and myself, because it’s already too late for us—we’ve already been hit with a restraining order to silence our free speech.

When I defied the order and practiced free speech anyway, I was arrested and am still facing a charge for doing so. Yet I know in my heart it was the right thing to do, because as citizens of America we must prize above all our right to free speech. If anyone is using a loophole in the law in order to silence our free speech, then we have a duty and a moral obligation to stand against the injustice and bullying tactics. I did so, I will take whatever consequences they want to dish out to me, and I do not regret it for a moment.

This video of the dogs crying for help and no one is there and then me getting arrested for holding a protest sign has already garnered 25,000 views on YouTube.

Every day that we have been prohibited to stand in front of Olympic Animal Sanctuary with our signs, other protestors have come and stood in our place. Not only other protestors, but the creator of Seattle Dogspot, who wanted to see for himself what the truth was. He confirmed what we’ve been saying and even more, as people in the local area came out to talk to him and tell him their stories.

The attempt to impede our free speech has only resulted in bringing out MORE attention and MORE protestors of the Olympic Animal Sanctuary.

Others are to return today, and the big groups are being deluged with requests to get involved. I suspect more will come forward on that involvement within days.

This isn’t going away, in fact it’s just started to blow up.

I made the mistake of reading comments on blogs and articles posted on our Dogs Deserve Better facebook page. That never ends well, because I was floored to see people who still want to believe Olympic Animal Sanctuary’s warehouse is NOT exactly what it appears to be: an utter HELL for its 125 inhabitants. They want to believe what they are told by others, instead of believing the photos and videos that cannot but speak the truth.

I am always one of the last to jump on any bandwagon against another group, because I’ve been hit with more smear campaigns than I can shake a stick at. But the police reports, the eye witness photos, all the stories of actual people who’ve been there are are speaking out gel together. They fit.

One of the stories that most saddens me came from a woman who volunteered there for only a day over two years ago, and the biggest reason it saddens me is because it’s been going on for so long. The conditions described are exactly as they are described by police last year and by others who have been involved. These include but are not limited to: dogs living in stacked crates, dogs NEVER getting out of the crates, dogs without water, dogs living in their own feces, intense smell of ammonia, dogs fed meat with maggots on it, pledges by the organization not to tell anyone because they are fixing the problems.

Yet the problems are not fixed, are they? They haven’t changed at all, despite a deal cut with police to release dogs to rescue and cut down to 60 dogs.

How do you cut a deal with police in order to avoid a cruelty charge and then disregard it as if it means nothing?

And nothing happens as a result? I sneeze the wrong way and I get arrested.

IF THERE WERE NO PROBLEMS AT THE OLYMPIC ANIMAL SANCTUARY, OTHER NONPROFITS WOULD BE GIVEN THE COURTESY OF A TOUR AND NOT A RESTRAINING ORDER.

IF THERE WERE NO PROBLEMS AT OAS, ANYONE COULD DO A WELFARE CHECK FOR THEMSELVES BECAUSE THERE WOULD BE NOTHING TO SEE.

Yet no one is allowed in. No one.

There remains only one worker that has been seen going inside for perhaps 2 hours a day. I personally have never witnessed ANYONE going in in the three days I was allowed to practice free speech before my arrest.

Not one single dog has come into or gone out of the facility for a walk or to the play yard. The lone dog who was in the yard can now be seen in the window of the building.

Even if this kid is somehow working 8 hours a day, this isn’t nearly enough to walk and feed and water and clean cages for 125 dogs, which he himself confirmed was the number of dogs inside.

These dogs cry mournfully for help. You can get a restraining order falsely against two people, but you can never get it against the flood of people that is coming.

Last but not least, in order to see the mentality of the person who got the restraining order against two middle-aged women with signs in front of a warehouse full of dogs because he felt ‘threatened’ somehow, this is what he wrote when asked why he didn’t just talk to us.

“I want to make myself perfectly clear. It is not that I am unwilling to take the time away from my work to talk to these people. I am, in fact, unwilling to take the time away from scratching my nuts to talk to them. That’s where they rank among my priorities, and why anyone holds them in any higher regard than that is now and ever shall be a mystery to me.”

For me, that’s all I’d ever need to read.

Today I’m sending out a Thank You to my husband Joe. When everyone else told me not to get arrested, Joe said “I believe in you.” When I said don’t bail me out Joe said “I’ll miss you.” And last night, though this war is far from over and he fears for my safety, he told me “I’m proud of you.” Any moment you’ve been in my life has been a blessing, Joe. Thank you.

I want to encourage everyone today to keep up this fight. My soul is broken for Sonny and the other dogs, but we must be strong and all help in whatever way we can. We must.

Although our hearts break, we must use this emotion to grow stronger. Although our tears fall, we must think and act and INSIST on change for these dogs.

State cruelty laws are being broken, and the fact alone that they have not nearly the staff to care for this many dogs and the lack of exercise and space requirements observed just in the past week by many, many people—even from the outside of the unheated warehouse—must be enough for a welfare check for these dogs.

Washington State Law:

2) 16.52.207 (Second degree cruelty).
Here is the language to use:
A person is guilty of animal cruelty in the second degree if, under circumstances not amounting to first degree animal cruelty, the person knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence inflicts unnecessary suffering or pain upon an animal.

(2) An owner of an animal is guilty of animal cruelty in the second degree if, under circumstances not amounting to first degree animal cruelty, the owner knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence:

(a) Fails to provide the animal with necessary shelter, rest, sanitation, space, or medical attention and the animal suffers unnecessary or unjustifiable physical pain as a result of the failure;

It’s obvious from the smell and the overcrowded conditions and the lack of exercise and staff that these laws are being broken. Continue to write and call all the places available at the links in the top.

We have meetings set up today with three of the people you have been writing and calling. We will demand answers in person while you demand answers via phone and email.

Do not stop. Do not EVER stop until these dogs are free.

Thank you, Tamira

Some kick-butt protestors from Washington state came out today

Some kick-butt protestors from Washington state this weekend

Our Day was Taken up in Court, but Protestors Still Stood Outside OAS

On Day Six of our Protest at the Olympic Animal Sanctuary in Forks, Washington, we spent the bulk of the day in the Forks Courtroom waiting our turn for the arraignment of Tamira Thayne, as she was arrested in the practice of free speech outside OAS.

To learn more about DDB’s involvement in the protest of treatment of dogs at OAS, visit our page at http://www.dogsdeservebetter.org/sonny.html.

To visit the most comprehensive Facebook page about the warehouse containing 125 dogs, including documentation of the police report from 2012, go here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/OAS-life-inside-the-sanctuary/396180077155674

Here’s what happened in Tamira’s words:

Make no mistake about it. The world is now watching Forks, Washington, and more and more people will be showing up to protest and insist that action is taken on behalf of these dogs. Here are two video links from the protest on Sunday. People are beyond disgusted that while these dogs still suffer every single day, protestors are arrested in the practice of free speech, and only ONE employee is observed DAILY entering the facility, for at most a couple of hours.

It should take at least a full time team of 5-7 people to even begin to scratch the surface of taking care of these dogs on a daily basis.

http://www.seattledogspot.com/blog/dog-blog/post/did-political-arm-twisting-stop-investigation-into-olympic-animal-sanctuary

http://www.seattledogspot.com/blog/dog-blog/post/my-welcome-at-the-olympic-animal-sanctuary

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/12/09/1261354/-Tragedy-in-Forks-Washington-Not-Twilight-NIghtmare

We were instructed to be at court by 10:00 a.m., and so sat in a full courtroom full of people waiting their turn. We were met there by another person (we are not revealing anyone’s names on here anymore for their protection. It is up to them how and when to reveal themselves.) After ascertaining that we were instead due in court at 1:30, we met up with two protestors who stood in front of the facility while we protested down the street and in front of the Forks City Hall.

Only protest photo of me from today, taken in front of City Hall.

Only protest photo of me from today, taken in front of City Hall between court appearances.

A HUGE thank you to the two people who protested on December 9th in front of OAS, while Robin and I protested down the street or in front of City Hall.

A HUGE thank you to the two people who protested on December 9th in front of OAS, while Robin and I protested down the street or in front of City Hall.

Robin at 500 ft. away, once again trying her best to do what she can despite the fraudulent gag order

Robin at 500 ft. away, once again trying her best to do what she can despite the fraudulent gag order

At 1:30 we went back and were made to wait until last. This meant we were there until almost 4:00 p.m. while case after case was mostly postponed. I have hired a criminal defense attorney, but had a meeting with him at 5:00 p.m. in Port Angeles, so I said nothing when asked by the judge although I felt I had plenty to say about infringement upon my rights to free speech by making fraudulent claims to engender a restraining order. Without an attorney present for me, I felt it was best to just say nothing until I had representation.

I had hopes that they would just drop the case given the political turmoil and tragic circumstances of this case, but that hasn’t happened. Apparently the condition of the dogs at OAS matters not, but anyone who dares to stand up and practice their rights to free speech will be punished.

They set a court date for next Monday, although I informed them I would be traveling back to VA on Sunday.

We made it back from Port Angeles in time to attend the bi-weekly Town Council meeting, but three of us waited through the entire meeting for public commentary, however they closed out the meeting without giving us the opportunity to speak. We were then informed that the public commentary was at the beginning and we were ten minutes late due to our trip to Port Angeles. We were not afforded the courtesy of allowing us even one minute each to speak our piece, even though there were only two other citizens in attendance.

We are thrilled that so many people are getting on board with this situation and doing their best to make change for these dogs. We continue to be appalled by their cries, and by the lack of employee-involvement in their day to day care. Please visit the links above and get angry. Get action. Make change. Without all of us they have no voice and no chance at a life.

If you haven’t yet seen the video of my arrest in the practice of free speech, in which you can hear the dogs crying mournfully, please watch it and share. We MUST do something for these dogs. Please, please help.

Thank you,

Tamira Thayne

The Protest Cavalry Arrives, and Meanwhile, Back in the Nosebleed Seats…

Some kick-butt protestors from Washington state came out today

Some kick-butt protestors from Washington state came out today

From Tamira Thayne, on Day 5 of the protest at Olympic Animal Sanctuary, December 8th, 2013, in Forks Washington:

Today, Sunday December 8th, we were blessed to have the Cavalry show up in the form of six lovely ladies from close-ish Washington state, complete with awesome signage and, most impressively, a bullhorn. (Is that what those things are called? Megaphones?) Whatever it’s called, I loved it.

Ok, now these ladies were professionals! Makes Robin and I look like a couple of hacks...but our hearts are in the right place!

Ok, now these ladies were professionals! Makes Robin and I look like a couple of hacks…but our hearts are in the right place.

Nothing better on a cold day making change for the dogs at Olympic Animal Sanctuary at 1021 Russell Rd. in Forks, Washington. To see background of what’s been happening, visit our page at http://www.dogsdeservebetter.org/sonny.html.

We met up at the Thrifty Mart, and drove to the site together, Robin and I staying 500 feet back in the nosebleed seats due to our bogus restraining order—aka free speech impeder—while the six ladies drove up to our old spot and set up shop.

Look at Robin, chained up in the backyard, aka 500 ft. from all the protest action. See how far away they were? Like 1-2/3 football fields away!

Look at Robin, chained up in the backyard, as in 500 ft. from all the protest action. See how far away they were? Like 1-2/3 football fields away!

Here’s a peek at how far we were from them…note how Robin looks so anxious to be part of it. We were like two dogs chained in the backyard all day, yearning to be part of the family, but shut off and wanting to get in.

Look! Squirrel!

Look! Squirrel!

I did get some shots of the cutest squirrel in existence, though…aw, look at that little darling. You can’t tell me he’s not just the most precious thing!

So, first, the ladies got set up and did some chanting, saying “Open the doors, Forks.” Then they did some talking round the neighborhood, which was really informative…and they judged how many thumbs up they got from passers-by and how many peeps gave them the finger. Turned out it was about 3 thumbs up to every middle finger, so that’s a positive sign.

Protestors takin' it to the net!

Protestors takin’ it to the net!

Then, things got a little hairy for them when OAS Supporters showed up and got a little rowdy, or so we heard. Mostly we just said “I wonder what’s going on now?” to each other. Here’s where that bullhorn again came in mighty handy.

At this point neighbors near us came out and told us the yelling was stressing out the dogs and making them bark. What? So you don’t care if they die in there, as long as they’re quiet about it. Unbelievable.

The police were called, and since Markwell didn’t know their names, and they would only be there for one day, he wasn’t able to trot on out and get six more restraining orders. So police told supporters that the protestors are allowed to go right on up to the easement without being considered to be trespassing. So that’s what they did.

Police are called to solve a boundary dispute, or so we hear

Police are called to solve a boundary dispute, or so we hear

Come on, you know this is the cutest squirrel EVER. I told him not to get too close to OAS, he might end up dinner or in a cage himself. But for now he is at least 500 ft. away, we know that for sure.

He just likes to pose. I think that squirrel is full of himself.

He just likes to pose. I think that squirrel is full of himself.

Once in awhile one or two of the ladies would take pity on us and come on down and tell us the latest haps. We were so excited to see them heading our way, just like a chained dog when he or she sees the master approaching with food. We’d wag our tails and beg for a morsel of news from the front.

One last look. Squirrel!

One last look. Squirrel!

They actually saw someone enter the building today, the young man we were told worked there entered at 3:30. I’m not sure how long he was inside, but he was the ONLY one who went inside, despite there being 5-6 of them milling about outside at one point.

Once again, tell me how one person can take care of 120 dogs by wandering into work for just a couple hours at a time? Long story short, they can’t. Period.

Before they left they called the police and asked for a welfare check on the dogs due to the stench coming out the left side of the building. When the policeman asked to go inside, he was told “Come back with a warrant.”

Again, we say, what is being hidden inside OAS that NO ONE is allowed in?

If you haven’t yet seen the video of the dogs howling and my subsequent arrest for peacefully protesting, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3dobZuVeQE

When we got back to our room and I got online, I saw that our behaviorist from the Good Newz Rehab Center in Smithfield, Virginia (based in Vick’s former dogfighting compound) had tagged me on photos of some of our dogs she’d photographed today. I was so touched and blown away by the photos because of the contrast to the way dogs are living at OAS, in a frigid warehouse in tiny cages, without access to ANY of the niceties of life let alone the basic necessities.

The fact that we all have to fight SO hard to try to win them basic respect and rights to space, food, water, and exercise just rips my heart out.

I am exceedingly grateful to Amy and the wonderful staff at the Good Newz Rehab Center who do their very best for our dogs every day. To Mark, Jay, Michelle, Tim, Sherri, and Nicki, thank you from myself and the dogs of Dogs Deserve Better. Our dogs GET better because of your dedication to their welfare.

Eddie, who spent most of his life on a chain in Ohio.

Eddie, who spent most of his life on a chain in Ohio.

Jules, just removed from a chain in Surry, VA this week. Look at her now, all gussied up!

Jules, just removed from a chain in Surry, VA this week. Look at her now, all gussied up!

Seriously, folks, I know we are all heartbroken and saddened over the fact that we seem to be getting nowhere fast for the dogs at OAS. But do NOT STOP. We CANNOT STOP, because we are the only voice these dogs have.

Thank you.

Tami

Arrested in the Practice of Free Speech on Behalf of the Dogs

Tamira Thayne braves threat of arrest to stand solo with a sign in front of the Olympic Animal Sanctuary in protest of conditions and failure to allow access to check on dogs.

Tamira Thayne braves threat of arrest to stand solo with a sign in front of the Olympic Animal Sanctuary in protest of conditions and failure to allow access to check on dogs.

On Day 3 of the Forks Washington protest outside the Olympic Animal Sanctuary, Dogs Deserve Better founder and CEO Tamira Thayne—a 49-year-old ordained minister, wife, and mother of two—was arrested as she peacefully protested on public property and taken to the Forks City Jail.

Read the previous blog entries for background to the case, and visit our webpage at http://www.dogsdeservebetter.org/sonny.html and this Facebook page to learn more about the situation or to donate for Tamira’s legal fees.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/OAS-life-inside-the-sanctuary/396180077155674

This is what happened in Tamira’s words:

On Day 3 Robin Budin, Debi Esposito, and I met up and I made the decision to again practice my constitutional right to free speech in front of the warehouse holding at least 120 dogs—despite the bogus restraining order the organization founder placed against me.

This order was meant solely to gag me into silence for the rest of my time here, and was made without me being given due process or being allowed to present my side of the story.

I had been standing there with my sign for only about ten minutes before a Forks police officer showed up to arrest me. I quietly held a sign reading “I’m here for the dogs, they need help.”

Officer comes to make arrest while as many as 120 dogs wait for help in cages inside the cold warehouse

Officer comes to make arrest while as many as 120 dogs STILL wait for help in cages inside the cold warehouse. How long must they wait?

I was protesting on public property, and was not trespassing on any property owned by Olympic Animal Sanctuary.

It was a blustery and frigid day, with the temperature reading 28 degrees when I got to the location. Robin Budin, who was also hit with a restraining order for attempting to bring freedom to the dogs trapped in the warehouse, stayed at 500 yards (or was it feet…wherever the officer told her she could stand) and was instructed to use the zoom lens to capture my arrest on film if the worst should happen.

Tamira Thayne is handcuffed by Forks police officer. He was kind.

Tamira Thayne is handcuffed by Forks police officer. He was kind.

I am very appalled that there are bogus systems in place that allow people to falsely deter citizens from practicing free speech, and these very same systems are allowing the actual criminals to go free.

It’s the dogs who are suffering; you can never make me suffer to the extent that they have suffered, so I was prepared to endure the worst.

handcuffed3

Tamira Thayne is frisked before being placed in the police vehicle

Tamira Thayne is frisked by the officer.

She was then placed into the back of the police vehicle

She was then placed into the back of the police vehicle while handcuffed.

The arresting officer was very kind, and in fact everyone I met at the police station treated me very well. This was my first ever stay in jail (believe it or not), and even though I tried to be tough and appear that I was unaffected by the inhumanity of it, I cried as I lay in my cell waiting for my paperwork to be processed.

I kept telling myself it was the right thing to do, because we must stand up to bullies who attempt to silence us through unacceptable use of loopholes in the legal system. I thought of the dogs warehoused at 1021 Russell St., and how just that morning I had videotaped them crying and howling, while there was no one entering or leaving the facility to care for them.

At the jail, I was instructed to remove all jewelry and extraneous clothing and it was placed into a packet for when I was released. I laid in the jail and tried to nap, pray, and meditate in the bitter cold without any kind of blanket or cover to keep me warm. I couldn’t help but notice the parallel between myself and the way the dogs were living in the warehouse, without heat, open windows and gaps in the siding, and in small cages for life.

I refused the lunch they provided because I would not eat while in captivity. I asked for water and was given a small styrofoam cup to get water from the sink.

There was a camera in the cell, and I was told it didn’t show the small area by the toilet/sink combo, which, ok, was just creepy. I vowed to wait as long as humanly possible before testing that theory out for myself, not that I would ever know for sure if I were being watched while using the facilities.

I was taken for processing, and asked questions that were invasive. I watched a 20-minute video about sexual abuse in prisons and what steps to take if you are experiencing sexual abuse by either other inmates or guards. I felt badly for those forced to endure those kinds of conditions.

I passed cells full of men that all watched the newcomer with interest, and I asked the officer to make sure I didn’t end up in a cell full of men.

I was taken to a store room with orange jumpsuits, and issued a pair of orange boxers, orange pants, a white t-shirt, and an orange shirt. I was given a pair of sandals for my feet.

I was put into a 4 foot by 5 foot room to change, as it was the only room without a camera. I was left in this room for about 20 minutes, and I ended up pacing back and forth, back and forth, just like the dogs do when they are forced to exist in tiny cages.

I could only walk two paces before I had to turn around and go back. That is probably more room than some of the dogs have.

The orange shirt was still wet from the laundry, and I realized that whoever did the laundry hadn’t made sure it was dry. I told the officer, and joked that I would have to take over the laundry, because obviously these guys weren’t doing it right.

I was then fingerprinted and my prints sent off to wherever these things go.

I was then bailed out after three hours by Robin Budin, despite me telling her to just leave me there. She had succumbed to pressure from caring supporters to get me out of there, but I felt it was my honor and duty to stay there on behalf of the dogs.

I now have to go before a judge Monday morning at 10 a.m. to be arraigned. For practicing free speech?

Tomorrow we have five people scheduled to come out to protest at OAS. If you are in the area, and you care about the fate of the dogs warehoused at 1021 Russell St., please come out and join us.

I thank everyone who has supported us and fought for these dogs. There are so many fighting in our different ways, and I am grateful to each and every one of you.

I hope to post video of the arrest and audio of the dogs’ cries tomorrow.

Thank you.

Tamira Ci Thayne

P.S. Here’s a current blogpost about what is going on: http://www.seattledogspot.com/blog/dog-blog/post/olympic-animal-sanctuary-director-wants-dog-rescuer-to-stop-watching-him

Debi Esposito very bravely continued to protest in front of OAS for an hour by herself after Tamira was arrested. Thank you, Debi!

Debi Esposito very bravely continued to protest in front of OAS for an hour by herself after Tamira was arrested. Thank you, Debi!

Another shot of one of the two open windows on the top floor of the warehouse, allowing frigid air to blow through at all hours of the day and night.

Another shot of one of the two open windows on the top floor of the warehouse, allowing frigid air to blow through at all hours of the day and night.

Facing Arrest for Practicing Free Speech

Five people protested in front of the Olympic Animal Sanctuary, where at least 120 dogs live in cages in an unheated warehouse despite the founder's agreement with Forks police to release dogs down to 60.

Five people protested in front of the Olympic Animal Sanctuary, where at least 120 dogs live in cages in an unheated warehouse despite the founder’s agreement with Forks police to release dogs down to 60.

Yesterday five people peacefully protested in front of the Olympic Animal Sanctuary for the release of Sonny and for humane treatment and release to rescue for all the dogs warehoused and caged in frigid temperatures at 1021 Russell St. in Forks, Washington.

This was Day Two of a protest organized by Dogs Deserve Better founder Tamira Thayne and rescue coordinator Robin Budin, occurring on December 5, 2013.

The two women flew 3000 miles from the East Coast to spend two weeks protesting in hopes of getting Sonny, a dog placed in the Sanctuary by a former representative of the organization, released to them for rehabilitation with experienced dog trainers.

Robin Budin protests on public property outside the sanctuary

Robin Budin protests on public property outside the sanctuary

Dog advocates have been agitating for better treatment for the dogs and for the Washington state cruelty laws to be upheld since at least November of 2012, but conditions have only remained the same if not worsened.

Complaint filed with the Forks police department

Complaint filed with the Forks police department

A formal complaint made by a neighbor in January 2013 alleged the following: “This past week the smell was so putrid that I could not even step out into my own garage without gagging, to the point of being sick. I also had to cover my nose and mouth to breathe just to get into and out of my car. I have lived here for 36 years but now feel I am becoming a prisoner in my own home…

“It is my growing concern that with the escalating putrid odors and the mournful howling that can often be smelled and heard coming from that facility, that these animals are being forced to live in an inhumane environment that no animal should ever have to endure. Please rescue those poor animals and put a stop to the deplorable conditions that we are all having to live with.”

After a police investigation documented and photographed horrendous conditions for the dogs living caged 24/7 in the Russell Rd. warehouse last year, Olympic Animal Sanctuary founder Steve Markwell cut a deal with police to release dogs to rescue and lower his dog population to a total of 60 dogs or less.

He has not followed through on this promise, and now rescue groups who placed dogs with what they were misled to believe was a true sanctuary for animals are coming forward and asking for these dogs to be returned. Steve Markwell has refused to return the dogs, despite his agreement with Forks Police and despite a moral obligation to release these dogs back to their rescues.

Since when can someone make an agreement with police to avoid arrest, not honor the agreement, and not suffer the consequences?

Here’s what happened on Day Two of this protest, according to Tamira Thayne:

Crack still evident in the door even when the snow starts to fall.

Crack still evident in the door even when the snow starts to fall.

Ice in Culvert outside the warehouse

Ice in Culvert outside the warehouse

Myself, Robin Budin, and three other dog advocates whose names are being withheld for their own protection, arrived at the warehouse at 1021 Russell St. at 10:00 a.m. It was 29 degrees and snowing, and conditions outside the facility remained the same as observed the previous day.

There appeared to be no one on the premises caring for the dogs, at least there was no vehicle visible at the location, and no one entered or left the building during the time we carried out our vigil there, from 10 a.m. through 1:30 p.m.

No dogs that are warehoused inside were walked, released to the yards for exercise, or were made visible to us during the 3.5 hours we remained outside. We continued to hear mournful howls coming from the dogs inside as well as out at least once an hour and lasting for 1-3 minutes, as we documented the previous day.

There remained the same older collie visible outside in the fenced yard, and he immediately climbed the hill to look over the fence and bark at us. We observed that he is missing fur about 3/4 of the way down his back on both sides—we don’t know why or if he has received medical treatment for the condition.

We took up our positions outside the warehouse but not trespassing on the property, each of us holding signs advocating for the dogs and for the organization to honor the agreement made with police by releasing the dogs to rescue.

We were informed by Forks Police the day before that we have the constitutional right to protest in front of the property as long as we are not on the property belonging to OAS.

Robin and myself had purchased thermal underclothing and warmer hats and gloves the day before to endure the time outside in the cold. On December 4th, although it was sunny, the sub-freezing temperatures had plagued us and we knew we needed to dress warmer to endure the snow and cold expected today.

When we arrived there was ice forming on the drainage culvert outside the property, and a light snow was falling.

We protested peacefully until 1:00 p.m., and observed Steve Markwell drive by around 11:00 a.m. to see if we were still in front of the premises, and then drive off. At no time did we speak to Steve Markwell or know where he was. We do know he was not on the premises caring for the dogs during ANY of the so far eight hours we spent outside the facility.

At 1:00 p.m. a Forks police officer arrived stating that he had restraining orders against myself and Robin Budin. We discussed how this was possible given that we had done nothing but exercise our constitutionally protected right of free speech, and had done nothing to harass or threaten Steve Markwell. The officer informed us that it was in place until we appeared before a judge to argue our side of the case on December 12th, 2013.

We were asked by the officer to disburse from the front of the property at 1:30 p.m., at which time we moved to take up our vigil in front of the mayor’s office and city hall.

The restraining order states that we are to remain 500 feet from the premises where Steve Markwell lives or works, effectively prohibiting us—unlawfully—from practicing free speech, and cannot be tolerated in a country where this right is guaranteed to all.

Let it be known that we care not one whit about who Steve Markwell is as a person or where he is at any given moment. We care not to follow him or harass him.

We care ONLY about getting Sonny released back to our rescue group and getting him placed into a training situation, and we care that either Steve Markwell honors his agreement with police by releasing the other dogs to rescue, or that law enforcement upholds cruelty laws in the state of Washington and follows through with actions dictated by their own investigation in November of last year.

We have a lawful and legitimate reason for protesting here.

If Steve Markwell leads a legitimate nonprofit sanctuary operation, then he has a moral obligation to prove that to all comers, exactly the same way other nonprofits do and would. He has failed to do so, but instead has spent the last two days figuring out how to rid himself of the ‘threat’ of two women with signs standing on his doorstep asking to see the conditions at the warehouse and to have Sonny released back to our organization.

We have in no way threatened him. In fact, it has been exactly the opposite, with him intimidating us with his vehicle and a cease and desist letter to curb our right of protest.

Instead of spending the time at his facility caring for what we are told is at least 120 dogs, he has ignored their needs and focused his attention on doing myself and Robin Budin legal harm.

This is unbelievable and unacceptable. Every hour I stand in front of that warehouse and know that no one is in there caring for these dogs is an hour I suffer emotionally and mentally, feeling powerless to help them. Thousands of people all over the world suffer daily thinking of these dogs and the conditions they face.

Nelson Mandela, thank you for the light you brought to our world. Thank you for standing up in the face of injustice and cruelty and saying “No More.” I mourn your passing but rejoice in the gifts you left behind for us to emulate.

I based the premise for Dogs Deserve Better on a saying attributed to you, and it is never more fitting than today—

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

I will now return to the front of the warehouse at 1021 Russell Rd., Forks Washington, to continue my peaceful protest. This is my right as a citizen of the United States of America.

I will not be bullied into submissive silence while the dogs continue to suffer.

If I am arrested this morning for doing so, it is my honor and privilege to spend an hour in jail for every dog who is spending his or her life in a tiny cage in an unheated warehouse mere blocks away. I ask only for all citizens to continue to fight this outrage on their behalf.

We must be their voices.

—Tamira Thayne, Dogs Deserve Better

For the record, Robin Budin neither asked me to nor influenced this writing. This is all me.

Collie still outside alone in the cold and snow on Day 2.

Collie still outside alone in the cold and snow on Day 2.

Robin and Tami in front of the sanctuary, asking Steve Markwell for access and to release Sonny.

Robin and Tami in front of the sanctuary, asking OAS founder Steve Markwell for access and to release Sonny.

Tamira Thayne asking to see Sonny

Tamira Thayne asking to see Sonny

Protest moves to Forks City Hall.

Protest moves to Forks City Hall.

We were refused entry, and not allowed to see Sonny

On Day 1 of the Olympic Animal Sanctuary protest in Forks, Washington (yes, home of the wonderful Twilight vampires and wolfpack!), Dogs Deserve Better Inc. founder Tamira Thayne and rescue coordinator Robin Budin drove to the facility at 1021 Russell Rd. at 10 a.m., as they had publicly requested a tour of the facility for that time.

They traveled 3000 miles from Virginia and Massachusetts to see Sonny and win his release from the Olympic Animal Sanctuary, after months of pleas to release him were ignored.

For the background on this situation, please visit the Dogs Deserve Better website page at this link: http://www.dogsdeservebetter.org/sonny.html

Tamira and Robin stand in front of the pink metal warehouse containing as many as 120 dogs with their signs requesting a tour and to see Sonny

Tamira and Robin stand in front of the pink metal warehouse containing as many as 120 dogs with their signs requesting a tour and to see Sonny

Here’s what happened on December 4th in Tamira’s words:

When we arrived at the facility at 10 a.m. we were greeted by a police officer, an Officer Garcia, who was very kind but told us that OAS founder Steve Markwell was not here and that he had requested police services to ensure that no one trespassed on his property. Officer Garcia and another officer let us know that we were perfectly welcome to practice our free speech rights, and they supported these rights, as long as we didn’t trespass to do so.

They assured us they would come about throughout the day to check on us and make sure nothing was getting too ugly.

First and foremost—and MOST IMPORTANTLY because it DIRECTLY RELATES TO THE CARE OF THE DOGS AT THIS FACILITY and the sole reason we are here—we want everyone to know that from the time we arrived—at 10:00 a.m. on December 4th, through the time we left, at 2:30 p.m. on December 4th—NOT A SINGLE SOUL ENTERED OR LEFT THAT BUILDING.

No one.

This was the Collie standing on the 'hill' when we got there at 10 a.m. He was there the rest of the day while we were there, barking for attention.

This was the Collie standing on the ‘hill’ when we got there at 10 a.m. He was there the rest of the day while we were there, barking for attention.

After the police left, we took photos of the outside of the facility from the road. The ONLY dog outside was an older collie mix, who was alone the entire time, barking his head off. He constantly walked up the big mound in the yard, which we are told is actually a mound of poop and straw that has grown over with grass.

When he would start barking loudly, the myriad dogs inside would echo his barks, and at times there was a cacophony of barking. There was one dog in particular inside who would put out an extremely mournful howl at about every hour throughout the day, and it twisted at our souls and our hearts.

We spoke to a neighbor who told us that they cannot barbecue or have picnics in the summer because the smell is too overwhelming and it makes them sick.

We then went next door to an auto body shop to ask if we could climb up on a truck to see inside the fence, but they were not open yet. When we were in the parking lot of this business, Steve Markwell came flying into the parking lot in a silver truck, careened toward us, circled around us, and then peeled out to stop in front of us. This behavior was threatening and an attempt to intimidate us, in our belief. He then handed us each a letter, and peeled out of the parking lot, leaving behind a woman named Heather in a white SUV who yelled at us and then called the police because I videotaped her.

Below is a photo of the letter that we were handed by Steve Markwell. This letter will not deter us from our mission, but shows the level of intimidation he will go to in order to stop us from raising awareness about this situation.

Our goals for today were twofold: Get a tour of the facility to see how bad the situation is (or is not), and to get Sonny released back to Dogs Deserve Better so we could take him to a foster home with a trainer.

But we were refused access to the facility, and were refused our repeated requests to see Sonny.

Why would a facility who claims there is nothing wrong NOT prove it by showing us around? If you refuse to allow access to your facility, then you have something to hide. Pure and simple.

Claims are that there are 120 dogs inside the building. Yet there was only ONE dog outside. We know that because only ONE dog barked outside all day long. All day.

He was outside in sub-freezing temperatures from 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. If he had a doghouse, he didn’t use it, but spent the entire time climbing the hill to look over the fence at us and bark for attention. A couple of times he laid down at the top of the hill because he got tired. We talked to him often throughout the day, but were powerless to provide him any love or meet any food or water needs he may have without trespassing. Unfortunately, he was still the best-off dog in that facility, because all of the other dogs NEVER LEFT THEIR CAGES DURING THOSE 4.5 HOURS. Not a single other dog came outside, there were no dogs walked, and as I said before, NO ONE went into or left the facility.

Around noon a woman walked up the road with a chair and sat in front of the facility with a sign saying “Leave Steve alone. Go Back Home. OAS Supporter.” Robin asked her repeatedly if she was going to go inside and take care of the dogs. She just started videotaping us instead, and refused to answer our questions.

Then about 5-6 other youngish people came around and started hanging out with her. Still no one went inside, and no one talked to the dog who barked from the poop hill. One of the young men, whose sister said that he works there, walked up to the door, tested it, then walked away, never going in.

As we’ve expressed before, if you have 120 dogs to care for every day, this would take AT LEAST 5-6 people ALL DAY LONG to simply give them all food and water and clean their cages. It’s doubtful that you could give them all even a very short time outside or a short walk if the people worked all day.

Yet we were there for 4.5 hours and not a single person went inside?

Something is horribly wrong with this picture.

Horribly WRONG.

Our facility has only 13 dogs being trained at a time, yet you will see starting at 8:00 a.m. two employees walking every single dog out to the field where they are allowed to run and play for ten minutes each. You will also see the same thing at 4:00 p.m. daily, since our dogs get two walks a day. We are open to the public daily from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., and anyone can make an appointment at other times to visit our dogs and facility. At least one staff member is with the dogs until their bedtime at 9:30 at night.

How can you have a facility with 120 dogs and NO ONE IS THERE?

Steve Markwell, the OAS founder, drove by at least 4-5 times during those 4.5 hours, but never pulled into his facility other than to talk to his supporter quickly, and never at any time went into the building or paid any attention to the collie in the yard.

The young man told us again that we were not allowed on the property, and then another young man went and got cardboard so they could make more signs.

He and a girl made signs saying “Genital Warts” and “Herpes” with signs pointing in and stood by Robin on either side. They took photos of this, and while they were taking photos, Steve Markwell drove up and took a photo of it himself, which apparently means he condones this kind of behavior in his supporters.

OAS Supporters make signs saying "Genital Warts" and "Herpes" and stand on either side of Robin to make fun of us. Is this really what you're doing when you have 120 dogs who need care inside the facility?

OAS Supporters make signs saying “Genital Warts” and “Herpes” and stand on either side of Robin to make fun of us. Is this really what you’re doing when you have 120 dogs who need care inside the facility?

He then spoke to us briefly, with Robin telling him that we tried to help him and we emailed him repeatedly asking him for Sonny back before we went public with our attempts to pull Sonny.

He claimed that we just plan to kill Sonny and that our reputation preceded us. He attacked us personally repeatedly. When I told him that I wanted to see Sonny his response was “I’ll bet you do.”

His claim that we plan to kill Sonny is an outright lie, and is being told to justify his unwillingness to return him to DDB. We already have two foster situations lined up for him, and two trainers. If one doesn’t work out we will go to the second option. AND we are willing to drive him cross-country if need be to a trainer in the east.

Sonny is not the only dog being requested returned from OAS. Many, many rescues who sent dogs there under the belief that the dog would be living a ‘sanctuary’ life have now stepped forward asking for their dogs back.

Another rescue has already sued wanting their dog back. (All media stories can be found and linked on this facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/OAS-life-inside-the-sanctuary/396180077155674?ref=br_tf

The temperature when we arrived this morning was 29 degrees fahrenheit. There was frost on our vehicle and there was front on the plants near the building. Our hands and feet were immediately freezing, so we had to change to our thick boots and gloves. The building has NO HEAT to our knowledge, and big openings in the panels, at least six inches wide all along the one front panel. Two of the other panels have holes in the bottom. Both upstairs windows were open, on the left and on the right, and when I was standing alongside the building on the left by the window with the fan I could smell a horrible odor even with the temperature as low as it is.

The collie at 2:30 when we left the area, still barking for help. He was still the luckiest dog there because he could move and had fresh air to breathe

The collie at 2:30 when we left the area, still barking for help. He was still the luckiest dog there because he could move and had fresh air to breathe

We left the facility at 2:35 p.m. after taking one last photo of the collie barking for attention in the yard. We met with the Forks Police Chief, Rick Bart, at 3:00 p.m. He confirmed that after the Forks police planned to arrest Steve Markwell on animal cruelty charges and he lawyered up, they made a deal with him and his attorney that he would decrease the number of dogs at his facility to 60. Markwell has not followed through with this promise.

If he made this deal with the Forks police in order to avoid cruelty charges, WHY THEN IS HE NOT RETURNING DOGS TO THE RESCUES WHO ARE REQUESTING RETURN OF dogs they sent to the facility under false promises of sanctuary?

The police chief also told us to be careful, because Steve Markwell makes sure everyone knows he has a gun, and he doesn’t want us to get shot.

The biggest question I have from the day is: If you KNOW that someone will be protesting outside your facility all day, WHY WOULD YOU NOT BE THERE ATTEMPTING TO AT LEAST APPEAR TO BE CARING FOR THE DOGS? Instead Steve Markwell seemed more concerned with getting us to leave than caring for the organization’s dogs.

The outside of the facility was a complete mess, as the photos show. He has repeatedly said that he is cleaning up the place, but if the outside still looks like this, what does the inside look like?

It’s time something is done about this. We need more people and we need more help. Please visit this Facebook page for all the numbers and photos and neighbor complaints and police officer reports from their visit inside the facility.

Please help these dogs. I am more convinced than ever that they need it.

For links to all news stories and see more photos and the police evidence, visit this facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/OAS-life-inside-the-sanctuary/396180077155674?ref=br_tf

Photos of the outside of the facility:

Pink warehouse facility that holds as many as 120 dogs. We are told it's not heated, and there are windows open on both sides of the top level, plus there are six inch gaps and holes in the front of the building for the cold air to come in.

Pink warehouse facility that holds as many as 120 dogs. We are told it’s not heated, and there are windows open on both sides of the top level, plus there are six inch gaps and holes in the front of the building for the cold air to come in.

Junk in front of the building, note the gap in the wall to the right of the door.

Junk in front of the building, note the gap in the wall to the right of the door.

Truck trailer on the side of the building. There is supposed to be a new refrigeration trailer, but we see no signs of anything like that.

Truck trailer on the side of the building. There is supposed to be a new refrigeration trailer, but we see no signs of anything like that.

Junk in front of facility. If he has been cleaning up but it still looks this way out front, what does it look like inside?

Junk in front of facility. If he has been cleaning up but it still looks this way out front, what does it look like inside?

More photos of the junk. The blue trailer appears to have refuse in it as well.

More photos of the junk. The blue trailer appears to have refuse in it as well.

The large gap in the building wall. It is supposed to snow all week and be below freezing every night and day.

The large gap in the building wall. It is supposed to snow all week and be below freezing every night and day.

All this metal could actually bring in some cash if hauled away

All this metal could actually bring in some cash if hauled away

Note in this photo the holes in the wall near the door where all the cold air is flowing right in

Note in this photo the holes in the wall near the door where all the cold air is flowing right in

More junk

More junk

The open window in the second story with a fan. Standing under this window you can readily smell a horrible odor, even when the temperature is below freezing.

The open window in the second story with a fan. Standing under this window you can readily smell a horrible odor, even when the temperature is below freezing.

One supposed worker walks up to the door as if to go in but then turns around and walks back. No one enters or leaves the building from 10 a.m. through 2:30 p.m. The dogs bark off and on in concert, but no one comes to their assistance.

One supposed worker walks up to the door as if to go in but then turns around and walks back. No one enters or leaves the building from 10 a.m. through 2:30 p.m. The dogs bark off and on in concert, but no one comes to their assistance.

Open window on the right side of the building.

Open window on the right side of the building.

These dogs need immediate help, and we MUST keep up the public pressure to save their lives. Local OAS supporters are convinced everyone just wants to kill the dogs. The truth is that most rescue groups who put dogs there want them back, and other stand by to take all the dogs and get them evaluated and placed as much as possible: https://www.facebook.com/pages/OAS-life-inside-the-sanctuary/396180077155674?ref=br_tf

Posted below is contact info and advice from that page for your ease of use.

For those supporters new to the page:

Animal Rescue Corps (ARC) made an offer to the City of Forks to take full financial and physical responsibility of the dogs in order to get them safely rescued. The offer was made in October 2012 — to date, the city continues to ignore the offer.

HSUS & PETA are aware of what is going on, but state they are unable to get involved unless Forks city authorities request their help. HSUS has previously made a request that we not post their contact information, which is why it is not listed.

ASPCA is not in Washington State.

These dogs have a rescue organizations ready to help them, so we need to continue to call and write and help get them rescued. We are their voice when the city/county/state want to ignore the situation.

**Please continue to contact the authorities listed below — ask elected officials why they are allowing the dogs to remain in these conditions and why they aren’t adhering to animal abuse laws.

++ Rod Fleck, Forks, WA City Attorney: 360-374-5412 ext. 245. rodf.forks@centurytel.net Fax (360) 374-9430.

++The Forks Police Department 360-374-2223 – Police Administrator, Rick Bart.

++Mayor Bryon Monohon bmon.forks@forkswashington.org

++City Council Woman Juanita Weissefels juanweis@centurytel.net

++Clallam County Sheriff
360-417-2262 – Bill Benedict, Sheriff

++Undersheriff Ron Peregrin
223 E. 4th St. Suite 12
Port Angeles, WA 98362
sheriff@co.clallam.wa.us

++Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney
223 East 4th Street, Suite #11
Port Angeles, WA 98362
360-417-2301
web_prosecutor@co.clallam.wa.us

++Governor Jay Inslee 360-902-4111.
P.O. Box 40002, Olympia, Washington 98504

As the Governor of Washington State, why is he ignoring this?

++U.S. Senator Patty Murray
Phone: (253) 572-3636
Fax: (253) 572-9488
50 Pacific Avenue, Ste. 650
Tacoma, Washington 98402
http://www.murray.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contactme

++U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell
(253) 572-2281
950 Pacific Ave., #615
Tacoma, WA 98402
http://www.cantwell.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/email-maria

++Senator Jim Hargrove
Olympia Office: (360) 786-7646
Port Angeles Office: (360) 457-2520
PO Box 40424
Olympia, WA 98504-0424
Jim.Hargrove@leg.wa.gov

++Congressman Derek Kilmer
(253) 272-3515
50 Pacific Avenue
Suite 1230
Tacoma, WA 98402
https://kilmer.house.gov/contact/email-me

++Representative Kevin Van De Wege
Olympia Office: (360) 786-7916
Sequim office: (360) 582-9830
PO Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7916
kevin.vandewege@leg.wa.gov

The police report and other information can be easily read at www.olympicanimalsanctuary.info.

SIGN THE PETITION:
https://www.causes.com/actions/1753539-save-the-olympic-animal-sanctuary-animals

If you missed the broadcast, “Sanctuary of Sorrow” you can view it at :
http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Former-supporter-calls-Forks-dog-sanctuary-a-torture-chamber-224972202.html?tab=video&c=y
— at Olympic Animal Sanctuary.