Many readers here have been following developments involving anonymous accusations against Olympic Animal Sanctuary (OAS) in Forks, WA. I’ve made my position clear. Accordingly, I contacted Steve Markwell directly when anonymous accusers recently resurfaced in the blog comments to dredge up old news as if it’s new again. I am reprinting his response here in its entirety.
At issue is an alleged cruelty citation which appears in a Forks police report about OAS spanning October – December 2012. I posted about OAS in April and linked to an April article in an area newspaper which said:
“Conditions at the sanctuary also were investigated last fall in a six-week animal-cruelty investigation by the Forks Police Department that showed no evidence of cruelty, Bart said.”
Bart is Forks Police Administrator Rick Bart. I asked Steve for an update and specifically to address the apparently contradictory information about the alleged cruelty citation:
First and most importantly, the citation was never issued — I was not charged with anything, never knew there even was a citation until I got the records myself, and still don’t even know what dog they were talking about. They said I had a malnourished dog, but as you know an animal can be thin for reasons other than malnutrition — a vet would have to determine the reason the animal was underweight, and of course no vet was ever consulted. As I said, I still don’t know what dog it is.
To understand the police report there are a few things one needs to know, and I have kept quiet about them because I have been in ongoing talks with the city over this. I see no reason to keep things quiet now, though, so here is a brief rundown:
1. A report was made to the city by Scotlund Haisley from Animal Rescue Corps. If you are not familiar with Haisley I strongly suggest googling him. It helps to add the word “lawsuit” to your search. Haisley’s report was based on the photos and accusations made by Pati Winn, the admin of the anti-OAS Facebook page. It was delivered to the city two years after Pati left. The statutes of limitations on misdemeanors are one and two years, by the way. So one might be inclined to think that someone who took photos of dirty kennels instead of cleaning them was waiting it out.
2. The police officer who investigated the complaint did so only after I and two other concerned citizens went to the city to discuss problems with the city animal shelter, of which she had been put in charge. Her name is Julie Goode, and she is another one to google. She was responsible for an illegal raid on a family farm at her last job in Kitsap County that resulted in half the shelter administration resigning and almost got the shelter shut down altogether. Now she works here.
3. Julie came to OAS and made a number of false accusations with regard to my dangerous dog licenses. She then told me about the ARC complaint, but not who had made it. (I already knew because they tried to go to the county authorities first and they asked me if I knew Haisley and ARC.) She went on to say that if I didn’t submit to a search, she would come back with a warrant, and then if she found any violations she would charge my two workers. I allowed her in only to protect my workers.
4. Julie did her search and while there were some problems — we were struggling financially at that time — she could not point to any actual violations. Still she said I had to downsize or she would confiscate all the animals and send them to kill shelters. She expected me to do this on an arbitrary timeline and said if I didn’t, she would shut me down. Again, no legal basis for any of this, just ‘I’m a cop and you have to do what I say.’ So I researched her and saw that she was taking a similar course with me to what she had done in Kitsap, and I hired a lawyer immediately and made a complaint to the city. He happened to be the same lawyer that had sued her over the Kitsap case. Julie was pulled from my case. This is important for a couple of reasons. First, since when does the person being investigated get to have the investigator pulled if there hasn’t been wrongdoing on that investigator’s part? Second, Julie was pulled on November 12. Keep that date in mind with regard to her report and the ‘citation.’
5. I got Julie in trouble, before she wrote up her report, and that is reflected very clearly in what she wrote up. She was sure to address my specific complaints by making statements that I willingly let her in without being coerced, making no mention of threatening my workers, etc. But she went further and twisted the truth or simply made things up. She claimed that I told her I don’t provide vet care, that I told her I can’t handle my own animals, that I told her I wanted to dose the entire place with Ketamine. All lies, and Julie, while unable to file charges, was allowed by her supervisor to create this false report and write a citation up and put it in my file. Imagine if the DMV was allowed to put unissued speeding tickets in your driving record, that any employer who pulled your record would see. That’s what was done here. We have emails between Julie and her supervisor where they discuss trying to get another officer to issue the citation, but that never happened, I assume because no officer would agree to issue it. We also have emails where both she and her supervisor state that this case is personal because I hired a lawyer — this is a clear sixth amendment violation.
6. Currently Julie is still off the case and it is my understanding that she is not allowed to even speak to me. My dealings have been directly with her supervisor and the city attorney. Both have stated to the media that I am breaking no laws, in spite of what Julie’s report says. The city attorney has admitted to my attorney that Julie’s report was based on Scotlund Haisley’s complaint, not on her own search. Frankly I don’t know how she still has her job.
People are claiming that the city is protecting me and that I have all these political connections. The truth is that the city has been harassing me since November and in that time I have distanced myself from everyone I know in government so there wouldn’t be any appearance of impropriety. The reason they are giving me a hard time is not that they think I am breaking the law or that they want me out of here — they have been very clear about that. The reason they are giving me a hard time is that the city attorney says he doesn’t like all the phone calls he is getting and wants them to stop, and he believes the only was he can make them stop is by proving that he is ‘doing something’ about OAS. He is probably right — these people won’t stop until all the dogs are dead. Their goal now seems to be to cut off my support so the animals will starve, but I’m the bad guy.
The big question is this — how is it that Elizabeth Schlitz, the same person who created the fraudulent petition to shut down OAS, got these records when I still have not received a copy of the ARC complaint that I requested in November? We still do not have this complaint, the document that started it all, so we still don’t know if it contains blatantly false statements, and this is important, because if it does, as we suspect it does, Haisley and Winn made a false report to the police. It looks to me like they are the ones being protected, not me.
A few other things to note: Pati Winn uses the aliases Petey/Peter First and Sarah Elliott. Colleen Lynn is also part of this group — I don’t remember what alias she is using. You probably know who she is, but if not, google. Others, like Jason Victory, real name Airick Heater, are members of ALF, and some are just sad, lonely people who do nothing but have flame wars on Facebook all day long. In total we are looking at about ten people — ten people are going to get all these dogs killed if we can’t get some support. I can give you more names and info later if you are interested but right now I need to get to work.