New Information Regarding Olympic Animal Sanctuary

While the person or persons behind the Facebook page recently set up to “expose” Olympic Animal Sanctuary remain in hiding, there is one person who is willing to put his name to some accusations:

2008 photo of Scotlund Haisley who was with HSUS at the time.
Scotlund Haisley, who was with HSUS at the time of this 2008 photo.

Scotlund Haisley spoke with the Peninsula Daily News alleging that OAS is not a nice place for dogs. And he says his current group, Animal Rescue Corps in Washington D.C., has documentation to back that up – which he won’t be sharing:

Haisley refused to make available the group’s 79-page “cruelty report” upon which the allegations were based.

The allegations were submitted to the local police department last fall and a 6 week investigation was conducted.  The police found no evidence of cruelty.

Another recent article features photos and observations from a reporter who visited OAS on short notice.  The piece comes across to me like an honest take on the situation. There is no glossing over the less than ideal conditions at the sanctuary but no claims of abuse or neglect.

As far as I know, the anonymous FB page has failed to offer any new information which would provide context needed for understanding the photos posted on the page.

48 thoughts on “New Information Regarding Olympic Animal Sanctuary

  1. I do believe the article written by the Reporter that was accomplished by 2 other people was pretty honest and straight forward. Everybody who has a understanding of dog behavior knows why Steve is keeping some of the dogs in smaller crates in dark areas. OAS might not be the 5 Star Sanctuary like Best Friends Dogtown in Kanab, Utah but it isn’t a place where animals have to suffer either. Steve knows exactly where the weaknesses are and he is trying to fix it.
    I tried to find out as much as possible about this whole story and It seems to me that all the complaints against OAS have some kind of a personal agenda behind it.

  2. I believe Scotlund is a disturbed individual from this website:
    The badge and identification provided to Ronnie Graves by the Humane Society of the United States, reportedly ordered by Scotlund Haisley & identified by a law enforcement official as ‘too similar to that of law enforcement’
    The statement by Scotlund Haisley to Ronnie Graves, “I want the scum to think we’re law enforcement,” when confronted with the potential illegality of the identification
    The response of Wayne Pacelle, “I like the Cowboy Ways that Scotlund brings to the team,” when the Scotlund Haisley’s comment was reported to him by Ronnie Graves, in person.
    a little authority can be a dangerous thiing

    1. You are 100% correct about Haisley. Pacelle only let him go when the lawsuits for illegal raids and seizures started piling up. Pacelle ignored repeated pleas from Scotlund’s Emergency Response Team members. HSUS didn’t care about his lawbreaking, money wasting, media hogging, bar and strip club hopping – and endangering the lives of team members – as long as he got those cruelty videos, media interviews, and fundraising pitches out faster than the speed of sound. Haisley was named as a defendant in the Pang case, and plays a big part in the upcoming $5 million lawsuit in South Dakota for an illegal raid and animal seizure.

      Haisley left HSUS with glowing recommendations from WP. Another organization, In Defense of Animals, made the mistake of hiring him. Haisley didn’t last a year there. What else could he do but create his own HSUS style organization? HSUS’s crooked money man, for-profit trade school kingpin Arthur Benjamin, was happy to provide major funding. Benjamin is still underwriting the costs of ARC’s rescue missions.

      HSUS ignore the pleas in the resignation letters from the most qualified team members about how to save the organization’s reputation in the field by making major changes in the structure, policies and leadership of the Emergency Team. Instead, Pacelle promoted Haisley’s fellow bar-hopper, Rowdy Shaw, naming him Lead Responder. The fact that Rowdy was both named in the Pang case, and played a big role in the South Dakota debacle, likely him get the top job.

      Last year, Rowdy Shaw led an illegal raid on the Collins Zoo in Mississippi. He was also great at getting those Hurricane Sandy media stories, exaggerating HSUS’s work, and helping to raise a fortune. HSUS reported a tiny fraction of the money they raised for Sandy, burying untold millions in their general budget. When the New York Attorney General asked all charities working after the storm for an accounting, HSUS could only say that they spent $400,000 of the “$1.9 million” they officially reported.

      Whatever the truth is about this case, neither Scotlund Haisley nor his Animal Rescue Corps have any credibility.

  3. On another note, looking again at this mysterious Facebook page, nobody posting on this Facebook page has offered any kind of help to OAS besides of yelling “we need to take the dogs away from Steve”. People complain about dogs being kept in crates that are to small, to old, to dirty, to dark. But I haven’t seen anybody posting there saying “Hey Steve, I have 10 new crates for you….” or “Hey Steve, I have 5 bags of dog food for you”…..or “Hey Steve, can I come out and help?”.
    Bashing somebody who is trying to do something good is easy, isn’t it?

    1. I suggested the same thing on the OAS page… how to be part of the solution, not just post old photos and gripe. I asked how one could help make the situation better. They blocked me. Guess they DON’T want to help. That, to me, seems to be part of the problem, not the solution…

  4. another article where the reporter did not go to the OAS.

    Do you truly believe that Steve would have done anything at all if this had not come to light? If people had not spoken up?

    Hmmmm….once again….this has been going on since OCTOBER, and officials have not acted? Really? Looks like the owner of the OAS also took his time in cleaning up!

    The individuals on the page are just that—individuals. Haisly has the resources of a large organization to back him up.

    I believe that when the admins on the page are told it is ok to speak with the press, they will do so. Not a minute before.

      1. Shirley, I disagree with the last paragraph that Peter wrote because the admins on the exposing OAS page clearly have their own agenda and have not substantiated their claims, including that 1. they have a legal case pending, and 2. they already have good rescues lined up for all of the OAS dogs in the event they are confiscated. I don’t think their agenda is one that places the welfare of the dogs first and foremost. Their behavior has been suspect at best. What do they have to hide? I also find it odd how they wanted media involvement, then said they did NOT want the media contacted, then more recently asked for help with contacting the media. They seem to have no clue what the hell they are even doing. They only want people to do what they say and are not receptive to help offered from others who do sincerely care about the dogs’ welfare and want to see OAS shut down. I think it’s worth noting that many people in positions to help expose this horror approached the exposing OAS page, including at least one major animal rights organization, and the admins refused to speak to them. Again, the question is why did they really create the page and post the photos?

        Regardless, I do believe that the allegations are true and that these poor souls are living a very unhappy existence. I am tired of the excuses and the people enabling Steve. There is NO EXCUSE for abuse and anyone who helps this crap to continue in spite of the flaming red flags re: OAS is also complicit in the cruelty these dogs have and are continuing to suffer from.

        This has been going on a lot longer than just since Oct. 2012. I don’t know all of the facts, only what has been reported so far, but I have no doubt the allegations are true. In fact, these reports coming out from OAS’s supporters seem to support the allegations more than put any of the concerns to rest. I agree with you that there is a lot more substantiation that is needed to support the allegations. However, I am very disappointed that you have also clearly chosen a side and it’s not the side of the dogs, which should be the ONLY thing any of us care about. We can debate the OAS page and all the other BS all day long but how does that help the dogs who deserve a hell of a lot better? How does that help to prevent more cruel treatment by OAS in the future? Oh right… there is no cruelty there because dogs LIKE living in travel crates!!!

      2. You state you believe the allegations are true despite the fact that there are no allegations, only photos, posted by an anonymous person or group, whom you do not find credible. That’s your choice of course but it’s not one I would responsibly make for myself. I stand by my decision to report meaningful new information as it comes in and base my opinions on same.

      3. Where did you get the idea that there are no allegations? Have you even bothered to read any of the statements from people who have witnessed this abuse firsthand? It’s not just the exposing OAS page that has posted about this or their very incriminating photos. I have spoken to others who have been there and witnessed how these dogs are living. Have you?? How much effort did you really put into learning all the facts about these very real allegations? If your goal was to really post unbiased and credible info then why haven’t you done so in this case?

      4. Ohhh SNAP. I’ve been warned!!! Did not realize that asking you legit and relevant questions about your due diligence was considered “badgering” in your alternate universe. No worries, I’m done here since it’s obvious what sort of integrity you really have. I was a fan for years though so I must say I am very disappointed in your biased take on this situation.

      5. Let’s be clear: Of course I’m biased. Steve Markwell saves dogs. Dogs that no one else will save. I have personally worked with him long distance to help rescue a dog no one else would save. I have posted on the blog many times about how much I admire and respect his integrity and his work. If you’ve been “a fan for years”, you would know all this. It’s not exactly a scoop. I said that I would keep an open mind regarding any allegations, if any were to surface, and allow readers to share legit information, be it positive or negative, in the interest of fairness. I asked you once to quit badgering and you did not heed the warning. You are now banned.

  5. I think the new article was both honest and reassuring. While conditions might not be ideal, one has to consider what ‘ideal’ means in this situation. Ideal for the humans, or ideal for the animals? I don’t like seeing dogs in crates, but for some of them, that crate likely does represent safety. Forcing them out might be ideal in terms of making human visitors more comfortable, but not ideal from the dog’s POV.

    It does seem clear that he needs help in several different areas…staff, money, housing… but I do feel reassured that this isn’t a terrible, abusive situation where animals are suffering.

    1. I can see you’re an expert on dog psychology, lol. You could not be more wrong. Might want to educate yourself before posting things you clearly have no knowledge of.

      1. I’m a certified veterinary technician with fifteen years of experience. So I think I know a little something, at least.

        Exactly what are you saying? That no dog finds comfort in an enclosed environment? Or that all dogs that do are better off being forced out of that enclosed environment?

        Such a technique is called flooding, and it is not considered the best way to handle fears in humans OR pets in most situations. Flooding can result in an animal (or human) simply shutting down. They seem to improve in that they aren’t panicking, but what’s really happening is they can’t cope and go into a shock-llke state of anxiety.

        What is typically more helpful is a systemic approach, where an animal is asked to make gradual process and is allowed to become comfortable with each intervening step. My only worry right now with Olympic is that the owner likely doesn’t have the time to see this process through with so many animals. Clearly the will is there, but he desperately needs more manpower to see his mission through.

      2. FYI. I am not a Mister and I know that dogs do not want to live 24/7 in small, filthy crates with little food being given to them. Of course there may be certain dogs that like the feeling of security that a crate offers but in that event, you would have the dog in a proper home, room or kennel with the crate inside of it, with the door OPEN, leaving the dog the choice to either be inside or outside of the kennel. Locking dogs in tiny crates all the time is no life. It’s a prison for them and it’s not right. None of us can know 100% for sure what the dogs’ thoughts and feelings are but for the most part this is pretty obvious. Only someone totally clueless about animal behavior would buy the theory that dogs prefer to be crated like this all of the time.

      3. Wow, you must be a incredible person if you can put feral dogs and dogs that are declared dangerous in to a home. What was the name of your sanctuary/rescue? You should advertise this because you are pretty much the only person in this country that is able to do this.

      4. Don’t twist my words around. That’s not what I said and I don’t know the state of mind of all the OAS dogs. Do you? Or are you just believing the hype promoted by others? I never said I was a part of a rescue or a sanctuary. We are an animal advocacy and networking page. The fact is that most or all of these dogs COULD be rehabilitated in the proper hands. I doubt that will happen even if they are someday confiscated. However for you to act like it’s impossible for these dogs to be rehabilitated only reveals your lack of knowledge on the subject.

  6. Steve has now sent an email to supporters. This evening I will be sharing the email and donating again.

    Dear Friends;

    I had intended to write an email detailing what has been going on at OAS for the last few months, but I think this article from Inside Bainbridge says it best:

    I have been telling you for months that times are tough – you’re probably tired of hearing about it. But we have an opportunity now to take a giant step forward, with new land already in our possession. We need your help to weather this financial crisis and come out stronger on the other side.

    Please share this email with your friends and family, and as always, we would appreciate any donation you can afford. You can donate online at this address:

    If you prefer PayPal, our address is

    Or you can mail checks to:

    Olympic Animal Sanctuary
    PO Box 3044
    Port Angeles, WA 98362

    Thanks so much for your time and support. I hope you will continue to stand by us through this difficult time and help us to become a better, stronger Olympic Animal Sanctuary.

    Steve Markwell

    P.S. Forks Police Chief Rick Bart has issued a public statement that there is no evidence of animal abuse at OAS; we already knew that, but it’s nice to hear.

  7. What kind of an animal rescuer or advocate refuses to share evidence of animal cruelty?? Just because the police state they found nothing wrong at OAS except for one “potentially malnourished animal” does not make that a true FACT. Police lie and refuse to take action all the time, especially where animals are concerned. That is sadly common but I would have expected a major rescue group to taken a much stronger stand than this. It’s very disappointing.

      1. And if ARC had rescued these dogs do you really think they would have fared better than if PETA had rescued them? Either way, they all most likely would have been PTS. Better than the hell they are currently living but not an acceptable choice really. These dogs deserve a REAL life and a real chance at being rehabilitated if needed and placed in a loving environment that meets all of their needs.

  8. Steve is a competent and compassionate man, but it sounds like he’s taken on too much. It might be helpful for him to have someone else help make the call as to whether or not to take on another animal on a case by case basis. It’s very hard to say, “No, I cannot take that dog” when your passion is so great (and you know that you are that dog’s only option to live). But the animals already in your care MUST take precedence, always.

    I confess that I’m one of the ones who found the article less than reassuring. I can understand a feral/traumatized dog needing to be in a small, darkened and enclosed space. But there is a world of difference between having a protective crate available and not being able to leave it… Surely these dogs would be better served in a larger enclosure that has cave-like crates inside along with the option to move around and stretch their legs should they feel safe enough (perhaps in the middle of the night or something) to do so?

    I don’t know the organizational structure of OAS, but without more of a governor on the intake of dogs, Steve runs a very real risk of burnout. And then no one will be served.

    1. As far as I understand, Steve has not taken in any new dogs in the last several month for exactly that reason and that is why he got the number down to 128.
      To the dogs in the crates, out of experience I can tell you that it takes a long time to get the dogs to want to leave the small crates for a longer period of time. I worked with 2 dogs, a bonded pair, in such a situation and it took me several month to build up their confidence so that they would stay outside of the crate for longer period of time.

      1. mikken.. this sounds like the things we heard from PETA/HSUS.. no one can take care of xxx amount of dogs so we have to pass laws that say how many you can “take care of” because we know better than you do what your capabilities are.

      2. Aice, sorry, perhaps I wasn’t clear. The “governor” I referred to would be within the organization itself, not an outside force.

      3. Peter, yes, I understand about the dogs’ need to be in the crate as a safety zone for their own comfort. But there’s an inherent difference between not being able to come out of the crate because of a mental barrier and not being able to come out of the crate because of a physical barrier. The physical barrier precludes any “baby steps” that the dog might make on his own…setting a paw on the edge of the doorway, resting his nose just a little further out this week than last week, that sort of thing.

        It does sound like Steve is making changes and that is a good thing. I do hope that he has some help out there.

  9. I generally only take the dogs that no one else will, feral agressive, mill, seniors, or terminally ill. I had 70 of the Kennewick Eskimos & they would try to get into a kennel for 1 dog their size, they would cram 5 of themselves in the crates. We had no doors on them, it took months for me to get them to be in a crate alone much less come out of them. I actually had some twit on Bainbridge call AC on me & say I was “keeping them in crates” AC came out & all that happened is they got a good laugh about it. When that didn’t work she tried saying the dogs were in a dirty atmosphere, by God’s grace this woman would call EXACTLY on the days & times when AC was at my house for one thing or another, we shared supplies, dogs & advice, sometimes coffee, & meals. The AC Officer would cheer me on when I would get discouraged by pointing out how far they had come just since they had met them, the day I broke down & cried was when I went into the dining/fireplace area & I looked & each one was in a single crate sleeping or chewing on a bone, it was the most monumental moment ever. Most dogs like this find comfort only in their crate, you literally have to sit by their crates & bond with them, you can’t pull them out & expose them with no comfort zone just because I bunch of armchair rescuers think so. Dogs come from wolves, & you will NEVER see a wolf just laying outside sleeping, they always stay in dens. All of you who think you can do so much better go get yourself a couple dogs like Steve has & let’s see how you do.

    I know that now the creators & cronies of the hate page are saying I have arrests for abuse & neglect which is great by me, I know who started the page & I know what is behind it, they are actually speaking about my issue with Everett AC, an agency that beats & maces pitbulls, trust me there is no shame in my game, or my name, (they are claiming I have a “bunch of aliases”) my name is Brandia Taamu I run Finally Home Rescue & I have never hidden from anyone, I am not a child. No matter how many stories you do or how many ways you explain what is going on these hateful band of troublemakers are going to twist everything you say, & argue about it. This is what these kinds of people thrive on, it is more important then food or water to them, to spew hatred, to cause drama & conflict. Like I posted on my page… Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level & then beat you with experience. These are nothing more then cowards with an internet connection & no life whatsoever.

      1. No it doesn’t, (strange that you think so though) it revolves around the animals: Animals that were endangered by this hate campaign. The truth will come out, it always does.

  10. I don’t believe this is the first time, he has had to deal with the drama related to his sanctuary. I was familiar with his work when I lived in Washington. He had detractors then too, just not on the inside as a volunteer, as far as I know. There were people who didn’t approve of him taking behavioral dogs, who thought they should be killed instead and that somehow their existence posed a risk to society. I wouldn’t be surprised if was infiltrated by PETA. They love trying to make No Kill look bad and in particular like to have Pitbull dogs killed so I’m sure that they would look at this as another opportunity to use the “killing is kindness” regarding behavioral argument. Their volunteers have done it before, I wouldn’t be surprised if they did it again. If the pictures were taken while he was road and he himself said the volunteer was a poor performer… if it looks like a duck…talks like a duck…

  11. I know I am late to this article however I would go and let the dogs out one at a time. I have to be honest 122 is last count and there is no way each dog gets out of that crate for help everyday. Does steve work in sections like FIFO system? Grocery store term First in First out. When i see the photos it reminds me of a store each stack equal one shelf. How does he get the top stacked dog out? This are valid questions because a DEN isnt three storys high so do the dogs get scared when pulled from the shelf?

  12. [link redacted by moderator]
    Police Report on the horrific conditions at OAS—so instead of spending the money making life better for the animals, Markwell hires an attorney.
    Cruelty charges filed against Markwell.

      1. it should have gone directly to the police report. Why would you NOT want to post that? Did I give the wrong link?

      2. You stated “Cruelty charges filed against Markwell.” and that appears to be false. I did check the contents of the docs at the link you provided beforehand and didn’t see anything about cruelty charges being filed.

      3. On the last page of the report it does say a citation was issued for animal cruelty

    1. That was the Police report from last year when the Police visited OAS. Mark actually never made a secret out of that. It seems somebody is just digging up some old stuff again.

      1. the charges and number are on the last page at the bottom.
        Peter—everyone said nothing was found….did you read any of it? It is a horror story.

      2. Again, that was already made public last year. Since then, OAS worked on improvements which also was documented. For some reason you forgot to mention that. What also is strange, is that people continue to bash OAS and then complain that he has hired a Attorney.
        I always ask the same question but for some reason never get a straight answer. So, here is my question again: Besides of bashing OAS, what did you do to help OAS?

    1. Let’s be clear: The link I referenced, and paraphrased from, says this:

      “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.

      This is all old news. And it’s still being circulated by anonymous cowards. I have requested an update from Steve Markwell and will share if there are any new developments to report.

  13. We did research on Scotlund Haisley back in April of 2012 because of his connections to another faux no kill scamming advocacy group called Pet Pardons. His sordid past animal welfare history was not surprising. As we stated then and it is just as true now “In fact, Animal Rescue Corps attack on rescues is in large part an attack on no kill organizations”. My suspicions continue to be confirmed that those most vociferously attacking Steve have an anti No Kill agenda.

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