Way back in 2007, a Siberian Husky named Rogue was accused of killing a neighbors Shih Tzu. His owner Deb Coker was told by authorities he was going to be euthanized. No one every actually saw Rogue kill the other dog, but he was found carrying the little Shih Tzu in his mouth. To save Rogue, devistated Coker had reached out to social media, several dog rescues and humane societies and attorneys, until she eventually happened upon Oympic Animal Sanctuary.
Fast forward to April 3rd, 2015 and founder and executive director, Stephen Markwell, has committed 48 violations of the Charitable Solicitations Act. Markwell is accused by that state’s attorney general of unlawfully soliciting and collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in charitable donations ( over $360,000 to be precise) and failing to show authorities where the money had gone. “Animal lovers who donated money to Markwell trusted that he was abiding by state law. He was not,” said Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson.
Animals rights activists, however, have dubbed the Olympic Animal Sanctuary the “Sanctury Of Sorry.” Stating animals were kept in squalor, never allowed out of their cages, and provided fresh food and water. Rogue was one of these animals. In December, 2013, the sanctuary was shut down and 124 dogs, including Rogue, were transferred to a facility in Arizona.
This is where Nikki Boyd enters the story. Boyd, a veterinary technician in North Carolina, who rescues huskies and malamutes, was contacted about possibly adopting Rogue.
“It was so sad,” she said. “We learned these dogs were kept in travel crates, never seeing the light of day again until they arrived in Arizona. They slept in their own urine and feces. Literally, these dogs never got out of the crates. Some were in kennels. Some were killed by other dogs.”
Boyd said she would take Rogue, as she had room for one more dog, and when they met for the first time she instantly knew he was meant for her. “He came straight to me like he knew he was there to be with me. Tears rolled down my face.”
Rogue had to be kept at the veterinary hospital for a month to decompress. He had been diagnosed with paralysis of the larynx, and was suffering from anxiety over issues like an empty water bowl. “When he first came home he would only eat a couple kernels of food a day. He was rationing it out. He was not used to being fed every day,” Boyd said. “I always made sure his bowl was full. Now he eats runs and plays like a normal dog.”
He is now thriving and lives with two small dogs and has shown no sign of aggression like that of which he was accused of years ago. Boyd had contacted Coker to let her know of Rogue’s fate. She was shocked, and had absolutely no idea of what her former pup had gone through. She had even donated money to the sanctuary. “I was under the impression it was a good place for him to roam around and that he was still there,” she said. Boyd and Coker are now facebook friends and have bonded over their love for Rogue.
The attorney general’s action does not address allegations of animal abuse or neglect as those issues do not fall within the Consumer Protection Act or Charitable Solicitation Act, the news release said.
15 dogs from Markwell’s sanctuary remain in Arizona, awaiting adoption.