By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
Want more top stories? Sign up here for daily or weekly newsletters with our top news.
“Steve has landed. They are unloading the truck,” said Robert Misseri, president of Guardians of Rescue, a New York-based rescue organization that is organizing the care and dispersal of the dogs to a variety of rescue groups.
“They are alive,” Misseri said at about 3:15 p.m., adding that the dogs had not been counted or examined yet.
Misseri has declined to identify the exact location.
He said that he wants to talk with Markwell and representatives of rescue organizations before he releases the location.
“It will be quite some time before we get everything under control,” Misseri said.
The location of the remote meeting spot has been described as being “an hour from anywhere.”
Markwell departed Forks early Saturday morning.
He had an estimated 124 dogs in cages constructed in a climate-controlled semi-trailer, and drove more than 1,000 miles to the meeting point, Misseri said.
Markwell has been under pressure from animal rights activists since Dec. 2, including pickets and protests outside the warehouse where he kenneled the dogs in Forks.
Aside from the Hurricane Sandy rescues in 2012, this is the largest operation for Guardians of Rescue to date, Misseri said.
“We've had large rescues, and we've had complicated ones. But this is by far the largest, and most complicated rescue we have ever done,” he said.
Eight Guardians of Rescue affiliate volunteers from California spent two days setting up 10-foot by 10-foot kennels for the dogs, he said.
They also had several pallets of dog food, and prepared a veterinary inspection station, where every dog will receive a full veterinary exam.
The organization is short on kennels and needs more to house all 124 dogs, he said.
Information on how to donate kennels to Guardians of Rescue will be released as soon as arrangements are made with Lowe's Home Improvement, from which the organization will purchase kennel materials, Misseri said.
Rescue organizations equipped to handle the dogs, many of which have a history of violence toward humans and dogs, are asked to contact Guardians of Rescue.
For more information about Guardians of Rescue or to donate funds to help feed, house, provide medical care and distribute the OAS dogs, phone 888-287-3864 or visit the organization's website, www.guardiansofrescue.org.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.