'Last chance for bad dogs' (with 'Refuge or horror? Animal sanctuary draws worldwide attention')

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EDITOR'S NOTE: The following accompanies today's story: "Refuge or horror? Animal sanctuary draws worldwide attention": http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20131006/NEWS/310069990

Related item: "Consolidated online comments on 'Refuge or Horror'" — http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20131006/NEWS/131009977

STEVE MARKWELL ROSE to national attention when People magazine did a profile of him on April 5, 2010.

It was headlined:

"Last chance for bad dogs.

"Steve Markwell saves biters, maulers and other canine criminals before the pound puts them down."

The story began:

"Don't make eye contact," warns Steve Markwell as he welcomes a rare visitor.

He's not trying to scare anyone; he's trying to keep people from being attacked by one of his 80 dogs, who, as he gently puts it, "have issues."

Another tip: "Definitely don't get between them and their food."

One hardly needs a warning, as the residents at Markwell's Olympic Animal Sanctuary in Forks, Wash., are a tough-looking crew of pit bulls, mixed wolf breeds and other dogs, all with long rap sheets.

Many have mauled humans, or killed pets or even livestock.

By the time they find their way to Markwell's muddy 1-acre spread, most are awaiting euthanasia.

"What I'm providing is more like a group home than a dog jail," he says. "I'm here to help these animals, not punish them."

A former high school teacher and teen counselor, Markwell, 34, opened his sanctuary in 2004 with funding from private donations, fulfilling a longtime goal of working with animals.

Now he's called on by rescue agencies around the country to save those no one else can.

"Steve is filling a need that wasn't being met," says Elizabeth Lujambio, founder of Marley's Pit Stop Rescue in L.A., who sent him her worst biter and saw the dog "sleeping next to him in just two days."

READ MORE: http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20358170,00.html

Last modified: October 06. 2013 2:24PM
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