As many as 124 dogs are safe in Arizona after the owner of a controversial Washington state animal shelter placed them in a tractor-trailer and fled a protest accusing his facility of inhumane treatment of animals.
Steve Markwell, founder and president of Olympic Animal Sanctuary, had no clear destination in mind.
"We had no idea that he was going to pack up and move the dogs, but when we heard, we immediately took action for the benefit of the dogs," said Robert Misseri, founder and president of Guardians of Rescue.
Misseri said he had been in touch with Markwell since November about removing the dogs from the shelter.
"When Markwell left Forks, everyone was very concerned," Misseri said.
Misseri called Markwell on the road and arranged to have Rescue Unwanted Furry Friends Foundation, a licensed sanctuary in Golden Valley, AZ, house the dogs. Misseri said the goal was to find a place that was big enough for the dogs with a warm climate.
Guardians of Rescue arranged for outdoor, secure fenced kennels to be built to accommodate the dogs as well as veterinary care to be given to each animal. RedRover, a nonprofit based in San Francisco that provides emergency shelters throughout the country, is assisting Guardians of Rescue.
The dogs arrived in Golden Valley on Christmas Eve, almost 22 hours later.
The Arizona Humane Society's team of six arrived in Golden Valley on Jan. 2 and have conducted approximately 40 medical exams on the dogs, many that are underweight and malnourished.
"We are going to ensure that the dogs are not euthanized but find rescue groups or alternative shelters," Misseri said.
Guardians of Rescue is asking for donations to help ensure the neglected animals can be cared for and nationwide rescues can continue. If you'd like to donate, click here.
It is a nonprofit organization aimed at Animals Helping People and People Helping Animals. Based in New York, it provides food, veterinary care and shelter to animals in need.
Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
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