Dog News

Life Inside Olympic Animal Sanctuary

by Katherine

Life With Dogs is reader-supported. We may earn a small commission through products purchased using links on this page.

Sharing is caring!


Concerned animal lovers and ex-volunteers of Olympic Animal Sanctuary (OAS) in Forks, Wash., have come together to ask the government and the public to aid the innocent animals that are residing in this sanctuary.

The sanctuary was meant to be a facility to house dangerous dogs whose only other alternative was euthanasia, but instead they were sent to 1021 Russell Rd, Forks, Wash., for a second chance in life. However, the sanctuary’s ex-employees say the facility is not kept in sanitary conditions. According to them, there is animal waste and dust everywhere, and the few pens that do have a water dish, have it filled with contaminated/undrinkable water. Dogs live in small pens, crates or cages, and most have no access to the outside world to exercise.

The concerned animal lovers started a Facebook page called OAS – Life Inside the Sanctuary, there they have been posting pictures and police reports to document what they say is animal neglect and abuse, but so far they have not received help from the government or local authorities. What the animal lovers wants is to better the living conditions of the animals at the sanctuary. They would like OAS to close down and have the dogs there re-homed.

A dog living in Olympic Animal Sanctuary
A dog living in Olympic Animal Sanctuary

“It’s an ugly, dirty little secret that has come out,” former volunteer Pati Wynn, told reporter Jeff Burnside in a recently televised news report. “People have to be a voice for these dogs. Something has to be done, to help these dogs.”

KOMO News’ recent report tried to enter the Sanctuary, but unfortunately they were denied access. Instead, Steve Markwell, the man that runs the place, met reporter Jeff Burnside outside and briefly talked about the more than 100 dogs he cares for inside.

Burnside’s report touched on previous police investigations done on OAS. The reports talk about “an overwhelming odor of urine” and police statements where “Markwell told the officer the dogs eat every other day and are only fed unrefrigerated raw animal parts.”

Even though police documented the substandard living conditions and animal abuse these dogs endure, the written animal cruelty citations were “unissued.”

Burnside also spoke with Forks Mayor Bryon Monohon and learned the government’s hands are tied. There are no allocated funds for Forks to fight a legal battle with the sanctuary, and the city lacks local ordinances.

As there are Markwell critics, there are also many supporters that say Markwell is doing the best he can to provide these dogs with a better life. Markwell and his lawyer say the sanctuary’s critics “are engaged in a vicious campaign of defamation.”

Burnside’s report also says national animal welfare organizations like the Humane Society of the United States are trying to help Olympic Animal Sanctuary but it is not clear if Markwell will accept the help.

Read and watch the full KOMO News report to learn more.