And you thought Forks just housed vampires and werewolves.

Guess what? It also houses cruel ego-maniacal animal hoarders named Steve Markwell.

Owner, operator, and beneficiary of donations to the Olympic Animal “Sanctuary,” Markwell has more than 120 dogs, which he claims to feed three times a week. These poor beasts live in an unheated, nearly windowless warehouse in crates stacked three high with little or no access to water.

The “sanctuary’s” website claims to provide “a permanent home for dogs that are not realistically adoptable due to severe behavior issues.”  The website (which solicits donations on every page but the “contact” page) also states: “Dogs that have severely injured people or killed other animals, feral dogs, wolf hybrids, and coyote hybrids – animals that simply aren’t welcome in our society anymore are welcomed at Olympic Animal Sanctuary.”

Um, what? “Dogs that have severely injured people”?

So, even though this creep puts some kind of benevolent spin on how he’s saving unadoptable dogs, photos and testimony to the reality his wards must suffer doth protest otherwise (KOMO 4 broadcast some of the photos, but frankly, they’re so sad I just don’t want to broadcast his abuse with visuals that will haunt your days).

Volunteers have called the “rescue” a “hellhole,” a “sanctuary of sorrow,” a “torture chamber,” with a smell pungent enough to cause one volunteer to vomit.

And even though this Markwell has been approached to relinquish the animals from his reported abuse, he refuses to release the dogs to rescue groups.

The Forks Police Department wrote Markwell a second-degree animal abuse citation but never issued it because, Forks Mayor Bryon Monohon said, “Forks laws have no teeth.”

My niece Laura was in charge of a protest in Forks today, which brought out more than 20 protestors to save the animals (and one Markwell supporter).

Thanks Laura and Maggie and all the kind souls raising awareness against this man and looking out for animals through all of your work at the Seattle Animal Shelter and beyond.

Today’s protest yielded no action that will be taken against Markwell. That was to be expected. But it is helping to raise awareness of the problem. And animal welfare leaders locally and nationwide have heard their cries and are trying to help.

In the meantime, it’s not the werewolves or half wolves or shepherds or terriers that I would fear in Forks.

It’s Steve Markwell.

Pictured above: Protest organizers and participants Laura Mundy and Maggie McDowell.

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