Consolidated online comments on 'Refuge or Horror'

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WE'VE RECEIVED SO many comments about our story today, "Refuge or horror? Animal sanctuary draws worldwide attention,", that some of our bloggers' comments have fallen out of the forum.

We've restored as many of them that could be found.

They are below, roughly in the same order that they were originally received, from midnight to about noon PDT today (Sunday, Oct. 6). More recent comments are with the story.

If we've missed your comment, please cut and paste it from your personal Facebook page and add it back to the forum at the end of the story. Our apologies, and many thanks.

Peninsula Daily News

Suzy Pearson Top Commenter Pacolet High School
this dude is insane....& so is the gov of the state, who will do nothing, & the mayor, atty fleck, police dept....WHAT A NAME THEY GIVING THEIR STATE, WASHINGTON!!!!!

Karen King
It would be beneficial if everyone would talk to some of the current volunteers for their feelings regarding conditions of the sanctuary. As recently as a week ago, one volunteer posted a statement on FB to try and quash some of the negatively surrounding the sanctuary. She and her husband had just been in to the sanctuary and volunteered. Some of us, who actually live in Forks, did contact him through his website. HE REPLIED. He said people could donate to his food account at the local hardware store, he named two vet offices where donations could be made, asked for hunter's and butcher's scraps, donations of straw, etc. Why is it so hard to believe what these volunteers are trying to tell you?

Bridgette Boyle
You do realize that you have at least one mentally disturbed person posting here is using a fake name & profile, because if their true identity be known, you would find out they want to damage the good deeds of Steve and OAS. They say that those that scream the loudest have most to conceal.
Please consider that Steve and other good people are working to help great dogs and the best way for anyone to assist is by donating what you can, when you can. Thanks in advance from this online supporter of the awesome OAS!

Heather Katz Gappelberg Highland Park, New Jersey
I worked as a groomer in a place similar to this, except it was just small dogs (with a free exceptions). It was a large barn that housed over 100 dogs. And though I thought the conditions were less than ideal, all the dogs had free range indoor/outdoor all day long and then were caged for feed time & at night (except the lifers who had free roam all the time). The indoor ground was covered in hay (which can get maggots very quickly if not thoroughly changed enough) The dogs were fed 2x a day, each cage had a bed and water dish that was cleaned daily. There was a point where there was only 2 employees. There is no excuse other than laziness for these dogs not being watered, fed, and being let out daily.

Penny Manser Top Commenter NEETC
I think Mr. Maxwell meant well when he first started rescuing these dogs. However, it is evident that he is overwhelmed and I do NOT think the way he is keeping these dogs is in any way healthy. I am sure he has a good heart, but if these dogs cannot be rehomed and have serious temperament problems, then Mr. Maxwell should do the kindest thing and euthanize. I used to be involved with rescuing of my Breed (Keeshonds) and a couple of times rescued ones with such serious temperament problems that could NOT be helped, so they were euthanized. I wonder what Mr. Maxwell thinks will happen to his dogs should something happen to him. You CANNOT save EVERY animal: Just concentrate on the ones that maybe could be rehomed with some training intervention. Clean up your facility to the point that it is spotless and not straw on dirt. Maybe, just maybe, people will be more inclined to help in various ways. When you implement a rescue facility, you better make damn sure that EVERYTHING is done the right way to prevent criticism which in some cases, sadly, is warranted.

Ina Marquette Peninsula College, Port Angeles, WA
In addition perhaps if Mr.Markwell would loosen up the reigns a little and let other people oversee the financial operations more people might want to help if they knew the money was truly going to the care of these animals.

Rodney Sewell Top Commenter Sequim, Washington
the guy is trying. everyone is a bunch of dicks and cant ever donate to a good cause. the guy is trying to save animals from people who cant get them and are irresponsible. leave the guy alone. I hope there is some nice well of person who comes to help him or donates so he can show all those inconsiderate ppl and have them (DELETED EXPLETIVE) right off. high five to this guy for trying. he really has a good heart and I guess most ppl cant see that.

Rodney Sewell Top Commenter Sequim, Washington
anyone who says the dogs aren't fed.... well donate to him im sure he cant afford all of it...but ppl can sure dump there dogs there. look at it from every way. maybe hes into deep but a little help his way would turn it right around FAST

Ina Marquette Peninsula College, Port Angeles, WA
The problem starts when people abandon, abuse, and do not spay or neuter their pets. Mr. Markwell probably had good intentions when he started out but things have snowballed out of control and now he is in over his head. Animals require a lot of care and love; there is no way that this is happening here.

Helene Zenia Top Commenter
Based on the information below - that there are PEOPLE WILLING TO ADOPT etc. it seems this is basically a HOARDER problem. If he has people offering to adopt, etc. and ADMITS THAT HE DOESN'T HAVE THE RESOURCES to care for these dogs then he's got an emotional problem that has NOTHING TO DO WITH THE WELFARE OF THE DOGS. Unfortunately the authorities in this situation seem to be unwilling to move on this - it's TRAGIC. I'm totally upset every time I read about this situation. I've called the mayor, the Gov. repeatedly. What else to do??? Does anyone have suggestions for action that might help?

Karen Parks Top Commenter Sonoma State University

Pits Against Vick
thanks, Karen!

Joann Funk Aberdeen, Washington
I think after the news crew showed up he cleaned the place to look good. I do not live in another country or state. I have seen the pics and listened to PAWS workers and volunteers. I believe his place is over run with to many dogs. To many dogs living in crates. To much filth and not enough cleaning going on.

Pits Against Vick
so true, Joann!

Dawn Woody Reiki Master/Teacher at Self Employed and Loving It!
This vet's statement in this article worries me. Dogs need regular vet care. Vaccines, flea and tick preventative, heartworm test etc. I am appauled that a vet would make such a statement. He wasn't even bringing sick dogs to the vet. I would consider puss oozing from a dogs ears a reason to take it to the vet. I would think that a vet would admit that feeding dogs every other day or every other few days isn't healthy. Is this town for real? Are these people for real? God help these dogs.

Julie Overend Dawson Springfield, Missouri
Dawn Woody...they're probably afraid their "Twilight" image might be tarnished if they rock the boat. They don't want folks to know the REAL truth about the scum that live here who refuse to take action against this House of Horrors and this piece of humane garbage!

Kenneth C Bruns III Top Commenter Truck Driver at Pudget sound transfer
kyla maupin its not that easy you cant just go volunteer/help out the only thing you can do is donate, i've already tired to volunteer they wont let anyone help there.

Elizabeth Schiltz Livingston Senior High School
The advisory board, by THEIR OWN WORDS, left basically because of Markwell.

Elizabeth Schiltz Livingston Senior High School
stressed? Stressed? Really? Ask any good sanctuary---the stress level should go down....usually in a matter of weeks---these dogs have been there for years.....still stressed? Tell us about the training you, Markwell, do with these dogs to help move them to homes and rescues?

Elizabeth Schiltz Livingston Senior High School
he has stopped accepting dogs? Really? The puppies do not count? Are they kangaroos?

Catherine Crago Top Commenter
I am 1 person and I have 5 rescued last day dogs 2 of whom were rescue only and the most I would take on without help is a foster (and not until my dogs are settled in the new place. The point is that taking care of my dogs is a full time job.I feed 3 of them 4 smaller meals a day as they are breeds prone to bloat.It is unsafe and cruel to only fill their bowls every few days and if the place is so great why wouldn'the let the news ccamera in the kennel. ..or rather, the warehouse. He said it would only bring criticism.If it was decent it would bring praise and relief.

Julie Reese Covert Hamburg High School
Living in a 5 foot kennel for 10+ years is not living. They don't get fed daily, cleaned daily or played with daily, admittedly by Markwell. Even tho people like Markwell mean well, he is not providing the best environment for the animal (not just HIS best). I work at a shelter and you can slowly watch the personality of a normal, healthy, dog deteriorate over a period of time from being at a shelter, and our dogs get treats, toys and walks. Unfortunately, we are not at the point of being a no-kill nation. Euthanasia is more humane than letting a dog live years and years in a 5 foot kennel.

Catherine Crago Top Commenter
It seems that without exception his supporters have never seen the place and likewise without exception, NOBODY who has seen what goes on there has anything comforting to say. DINA BEAR ROWAN Did you not bother to read the article or do any research? Because NUMEROUS qualified rescues have offered to take the dogs and give them a decent life. There is a huge difference between a single person trying to do good and an animal hoarder in over their heads. The best case scenario is that he is the latter. He admits that he has neither the money nor the manpower to properly care for the multitude of dogs, yet he refuses repeatedly to allow ARC and others to help. THIS IS THE CLASSIC DEFINITION OF A HOARDER

Dina Bear Rowan Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
Instead of bitching knowing this man is in over his head get in there and help do you realize what will happen to these dogs if he is shut down?? So step up making a call wont help those dogs go spend time with one... go adopt one...volunteer your time donate a bag of food go help clean up!! The community should stand by a man trying to do some good and if he is falling short lend a hand and see his heart is in the right place....people are so eager to bitch but not lend a hand its disgusting.

Pits Against Vick
apparently, ARC has offered to take ALL the dogs. AND, lots of rescues and people have been emailing him and calling---offering to take dogs.

John M. Olsen Top Commenter Works at Staying Alive and Sane
Pits Against Vick , a question. What would ARC do with them, and if you know, how do you know?

Michele Ferrario Burbano Top Commenter
Dina Bear Rowan why would people donate money to this place if he is not willing to show where the money goes? I have seen the reports and pictures of this place and it was not clean the dogs were filthy. Until Markwell is willing to open his doors to the public and let everyone see the dogs are vetted,fed daily and not raw meat. being exercised daily, then NO people should not donate. According to Markwell these dogs are not adoptable!
You are right his heart WAS in the right place but now it seems to be in his pocket book.

Harve Morgan Top Commenter San Bernardino, California

FORK, WASHINGTON EARNS THE TITLE OF THE CRUELEST PLACE ON EARTH. C'mon down all you animal abusers and find your place in Fork, no one will bother you. You can be as cruel to animals as you want, they don't care. So calling animal abusers, you have a place you can go, and it is Fork, Washington.

Molly Paty Top Commenter Sequim, Washington
Please spay and neuter your pets.

Petey First Chicago, Illinois
show the vet bill for that puppy---I don't believe he paid that, either.

Petey First Chicago, Illinois
Sanctuaries do NOT house dogs in crates and kennels 24/7. Ever. Good sanctuaries.

Libby Williams Top Commenter
Under "related photos" above, Markwell is pictured feeding "Labrador-mixed puppies". Why are there PUPPIES in this place? Are the dogs not spayed or neutered? I shudder to think the puppies will grow up to be feral, like the other unadoptable dogs.

Marilou KuyKendall
As the article says, the orphaned pups came from the Lower Elwha Klallam Reservation. It would seem that bottle feeding at the local humane society or a foster situation would have been a better choice, though they apparently have that pit bull surrogate mom nursing them. Obviously, the sire and dam of these pups weren't neutered...

Deborah Packard Hoffmann Top Commenter Grafton High School, Grafton, WI
You want to know the truth? Then ask Markwell, how he supports himself? How he buys food and clothing for himself, look at the taxes filed, So let's see... who should we believe ? Volunteers who are UNPAID? The Officials who don't want to spend any MONEY to stop him? or Markwell who must be supporting himself through some undocumented means?

inda Hewett Works at Microbiology QAH
sounds like a man overwhelmed and who needs help rther than criticism. He has obviously taken on more than he can handle and someone needs to regulate the kennels, and give assistance to the dogs that need help the most.

Petey First Chicago, Illinois
he needs to let them go. Why did he take more? There are many agencies in WA who would have stepped up! Now there are MORE puppies there who may spend their WHOLE lives in the dark? Are you kidding me?

Kathleen Latza
He has been offered help by SEVERAL agencies and rescues and REFUSES to take it.

Kenneth C Bruns III Top Commenter Truck Driver at Pudget sound transfer
he will not let anyone in to help he only wants your money i've tried to help out

Cameron Crater Top Commenter Works at Animal Rescue
Markwell does not have the proper resources to operate any kind of animal sanctuary, especially a special needs sanctuary...the only light at the end of this tunnel is for Markwell to shut down and hand over the dogs to the legit rescues who have offered to take them. He lacks experience and training and the OAS dogs do not and will not ever have any quality in their lives...for the people who claim "well at least they are alive"...yes, they are and the slow kill operation this man is running needs to be closed...the newest pictures confirm cages, crates and jail cells still exist and why not show us all of the animals vet records and daily schedules? Because it doesn't exist...SHUT OAS DOWN...OAS is a fate worse than death

Dawn Woody Reiki Master/Teacher at Self Employed and Loving It!
Sadly, this report was just what I expected. Mr. Smillie, I have seen the condition of 3 dogs released from OAS just a few months ago. Mid June. They were in horrible condition. Im not going to list it all here but I am going to send you an email with pictures and documents regarding the condition of these dogs and the events that followed. This is not a sanctuary. This is a nightmare for these dogs. I ask that you read my email, review what I send and feel free to contact me if need be. Thank you

Deborah Packard Hoffmann Top Commenter Grafton High School, Grafton, WI
We have the POLICE report from last fall, and it shows a lot more than one malnourished dog. So who is NOT telling the truth? It is documented with Pictures and details of the horrible conditions at OAS, yet the Forks officials CHOOSE to do nothing. Now they claim they need recent pictures. They, like Markwell, are having a hard time telling the truth about this place and their lack of action for those dogs well being. He is claiming exemption under a breeders law 16.52.310, in defense of RCW 16.52.207. Case Law in WA, supports that animals need space, sanitation, food and water, and medical care. There are also local laws in Forks which do have "teeth" ... regarding how animals are cared for and to be fed. Not to mention also nuisance property with the foul stench, how about fire and safety codes? This place is a fire trap. Just a bunch of more excuses from Markwell and the City of Forks. Oh Kayla Hansen, thank you for your statement, because you have substantiated their long toenails, which any vet, or reasonable person will tell you is painful to dogs, and can even harm their feet, and their stance, and walking ability. SANCTUARY? I think NOT!

Cameron Crater Top Commenter Works at Animal Rescue
My question is...why on earth is he still getting hundreds of dollars in donations? His occupation is animal hoarder and the his job duties are hoarding animals

Sandi Martin N/A
You people are evil!

Cameron Crater Top Commenter Works at Animal Rescue
We are evil, Sandi Martin? I guarantee you not one of us is harming animals...we love animals...there are a number of people who support Markwell who are convicted animal abusers...I believe you are directing the evil statement at the wrong group

Deborah Packard Hoffmann Top Commenter Grafton High School, Grafton, WI
2 percent payroll tax dried up donations? hmmm funny because Markwell has never showed ANY paid employees on his taxes since 2007. Okay Next excuse? Does anyone ever check on the statements that Markwell says for their validity? Where's the 50,000 in donations for the building of the "new" place?

Cameron Crater Top Commenter Works at Animal Rescue
And with the number of animals he has, he should have many paid staff and kennel workers

Petey First Chicago, Illinois
over 150,000 taken in ---2011......his 2012 taxes on "hold" (because he really does not want people to see how much he took in, I think)

Libby Williams Top Commenter
Bales of clean straw do not a humane sanctuary make! Pathetic attempt to paint a picture of normalcy for the long-term caged dogs, many of whom live in travel carriers!

Deborah Packard Hoffmann Top Commenter Grafton High School, Grafton, WI
The Advisory Committee resigned, and in their own words, it was because they were disappointed and frustrated with the management (aka Markwell) of OAS, they declared that they would no longer support Markwell with their time or Money. This was after some of them had supported him previously for a couple years. That says a lot, yet Markwell doesn't tell the truth about it. Big Red flag there.

Karina Karinachka Top Commenter
with so many people placing judgement before they know! I am an animal activist beyond words, but the thing is this person actually cares. it seems they have shelter and food and he loves them. instead of being so judgmental why not help him to improve the sanctuary so it wont smell, so the animals HAD better conditions to live in. It is 1 person trying to make a difference! Help him don't judge, sitting at your computer making judgement is not helping animals!

Deborah Packard Hoffmann Top Commenter Grafton High School, Grafton, WI
He was taking in over 150,000 a year when the conditions were so BAD, yet you want to throw more money at him for failing? Ask Markwell WHY he was taking trips when he couldn't take care of this place properly. Ask him about traveling to Korea? Ask him about 16,000 in travel expenses a year, when he is balking that he can't feed and care for these dogs properly.

Cameron Crater Top Commenter Works at Animal Rescue
Really? Many do not see it the way you see it... Many see animals living their lives in filthy dirty cages suffering and Markwell as an animal are not helping the animals by continuing to enable this behavior...there are legit rescues willing to take these animals and offer them a life outside a travel crate

LeeAnne Harre Top Commenter
Kyla, many of the photos were taken by Forks own police department. Get your facts straight.

Kyla Maupin Top Commenter
The saddest part of this whole debacle are the people who live in other states and countries who have never set foot in Washington State and believe they know what is going on inside that sanctuary because of questionable pictures taken by a disgruntled ex volunteer/employee when the animals were in THEIR care.
Instead of complaining and threatening others and demanding that "someone" do something about this take a look in the mirror and realize that YOU ARE someone. Go and volunteer, donate, help out, see for yourself what conditions are like!! You won't though, it's easier to sit behind your computer screen being an armchair activist demanding change but not lifting a finger to find out the truth or help in any real tangible way!

Kerry Slora
How can people in other states and countries just "Go and volunteer"? And why would they want to donate to a questionable operation? You are just sitting behind your computer screen too, your comments are just as useless. The people who live in other states and countries can and do sign petitions, write to the authorities in Forks and other animal rights organizations. It sounds like you live there in Washington state so why are you on the computer complaining instead of "helping in a real tangible way"?

Deborah Packard Hoffmann Top Commenter Grafton High School, Grafton, WI
Kyla, you obviously do not know what is going on inside that sanctuary. Have you seen the Police Report and pictures from the POLICE that the City officials are now blatantly lying about? I think you should read the LAWS of Washington State and the laws right there in the City of Forks on the care of animals. Are you aware of the inconsistencies in Markwell's statements? The well meaning group of people who set up and called themselves the Advisory Committee QUIT, because of Markwell. Ask yourself, Where is his Mother Diane Hawkins, the treasurer of OAS, How about Matthew Randazzo, the VP? How about Jason Ross the secretary? They are the BOARD who is supposed to PLAN and run this place, they are ALL legally responsible. Yet you don't hear from them? How about the fact that he pulled his FB page, if he has nothing to hide and wants donations, ask yourself WHY is he hiding?

Cameron Crater Top Commenter Works at Animal Rescue
Almost all of his donations were/are from people who live out of state...stop with the excuses already and prove that each and every animal he is supposed to be caring for are properly vetted, exercised, well fed (clean fresh food and water daily and through out the day)...every reputable animal sanctuary will open their doors and books to the public because they have nothing to hide and they know as a nonprofit whose income comes from donations all over the world, people want to make sure animals are well card for and not suffering.

Megan Hamilton Top Commenter School of Hard Knocks
Markwell needs to work with rescues to place the dogs and shut OAS down. There are several that are ready and willing to take the dogs for appropriate placement. There is not enough money to run the place now, and as the truth about this concentration camp for dogs spreads it will only get worse. While Markwell spends donations on three squares a day stuffing his face at a local diner, the dogs are not getting the food, care or attention they need and deserve. By Markwell's own admission, he only feeds these animals unrefrigerated raw food every couple of days. That is not enough to subsist on and is the reason why so many dogs there are thin and even emaciated. They live in filth all the time with the exception of two times when enablers helped this hoarder to clean up for news people. This is no way for these dogs to live, locked in filthy travel crates the majority of their lives and rarely setting foot on grass or getting fresh air- if ever. Maximum security prisoners have better lives than these victims of a hoarder disguised as a "sanctuary." This is a hoarding situation that will only get worse. Markwell must be stopped before even more dogs suffer at his hands.

Betty Harman Parks Top Commenter
And his comment about the feral coyote hybrid dogs feel more comfortable in a confined space is totally stupid! What animal feels more comfortable locked in a travel carrier!! Who knows if they can even turn around!

Jane Key The University of Glasgow
these dogs would be better off dead. There is no mention of the dogs who live in small travel crates or in dark windowless rooms. This is no better than hoarding and is a national disgrace. Where is the SPCA?

John M. Olsen Top Commenter Works at Staying Alive and Sane
If everyone who said what you say, "These dogs would be better off dead," stepped up and adopted one, Markwell would be out of business, and your problem solved. But no, you'd rather see them all dead than adopt even one. That sounds like real cruelty to me.

Elke Winkler Top Commenter
I am really shocked !! This dogs are better off dead - would you say it as well if it were for your own life?? You, the Americans are so used to kill your shelter animals, that you talk about killling unhesitatingly - without a thought for those animals who are in this situation BECAUSE of the human!! They didn't choose this! Instead of figting for NO-KILL shelters, many accept the KILLING!! It is surely much easier, which dog or cat could go and complain and ask for justice? Over 4 Millions animals are killed every year in American shelters - this is really something to swallow!! And where are the millions Americans who stand up and to fight for NO KILL?? Well, this is also unbelievable!! You give so much money to PETA etc. why not donating to No-kill shelters - that is what we do! Our shelters only live from donations - and no healthy dog is killed, also ill dogs will be treated to health and they live in a proper surrounding (at least generally)!! And they can stay until they are adopted!! If this man would get more support by making the place more adequate for the animals and if there would be a kind of board to organize and to control that all - the situation could be better!! Why can't you, but we can???? You are not a country of the third world - even this killing business is not different from them...

Deborah Packard Hoffmann Top Commenter Grafton High School, Grafton, WI
John M. Olsen , he won't allow people to ADOPT them, you are speaking without knowledge. Many people have contacted him about it. He doesn't return calls or emails, he just wants monetary donations. Give him a call and ask WHY he is asking for donations for refrigerated trailer, instead of asking for food, or donations directly to the Vet office for the medical bills for these dogs.

Last modified: October 06. 2013 1:05PM
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