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1/3/2014 6:00:00 AM
Distressed dogs find temporary home in Golden Valley
One of the more than 120 dogs that arrived at Rescue Unwanted Furry Friends Foundation on Christmas Eve from Forks, Wash. (SUZANNE ADAMS-OCKRASSA/Miner)
One of the more than 120 dogs that arrived at Rescue Unwanted Furry Friends Foundation on Christmas Eve from Forks, Wash. (SUZANNE ADAMS-OCKRASSA/Miner)
Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - Mohave County will keep an eye on the more than 120 dogs delivered on Christmas Eve from the Olympic Animal Sanctuary in Forks, Wash., to Golden Valley's Rescue Unwanted Furry Friends Foundation, said Mohave County Administrator Mike Hendrix.

The Mohave County zoning and health permits for RUFFF currently places a 200-dog limit on the no-kill facility. RUFFF owner Hillarie Allison said she currently has around 130 dogs at the 40-acre shelter and offered a section of her land to the Guardians of Rescue, a nonprofit animal rescue out of New York state, to take care of the dogs from the Olympic Animal Sanctuary.

"Those dogs are not a part of RUFFF," Allison said.

She said she spoke with County Supervisors Joy Brotherton and Hildy Angius about the situation and a representative from the county's health department is scheduled to inspect the facilities today.

Allison battled Mohave County in court after she was cited for not having valid zoning and health permits for RUFFF in 2010. The issue was finally settled in 2012.

Brotherton said Allison did call her Christmas Eve night and talked to her about the situation.

"All of the (county) departments know about it and it's just a matter of compliance with her permits," Brotherton said. "She may have to come before (the Board of Supervisors) again. I'm not sure."

There have also been accusations that Guardians of Rescue paid Allison $15,000 to take the dogs. The amount would be just enough to cover the cost to pay off a lienholder of the property RUFFF sits on.

Allison denied being paid to take the dogs and said she's already raised nearly two-thirds of the money necessary to pay off the lien holder.

"I haven't been paid a dime to do this. I don't care what people say. This has always been about the animals," she said.

Robert Misseri from the Guardians of Rescue said several local, state and national animal rescues have offered to take some of the animals.

"I expect it will take us about a month to parcel the dogs out," he said.

The Guardians of Rescue has been working with Olympic Animal Sanctuary owner Steve Markwell since Markwell found himself embroiled in a controversy after the Forks Police Department investigated his sanctuary in 2012 for animal abuse and neglect, Misseri said.

According to the Peninsula Daily News, Markwell, tired of the nonstop protests at his sanctuary and death threats, left Forks with a semi-truck of more than 120 dogs packed into homemade, wooden crates on Dec. 21.

"He must have been planning to move the dogs for some time," Misseri said. He pointed to the handmade dog crates and the purchase of a semi truck as proof.

The Guardians of Rescue convinced him to take the dogs to RUFFF, Misseri said.

"It was the closest shelter. It was warm and I knew Allison wouldn't say no," he said.

Allison said she has been friends with Misseri for years and wasn't too surprised when he called her Christmas Eve to tell her that 124 dogs would be showing up on her doorstep in a few hours.

"I had been following the situation," she said. "This has got to be one of the largest animal rescue operations in the nation."

In the meantime, Misseri and a number of volunteers from Cornerstone Mission and animal rescue operations both in and out of the state have descended on RUFFF to help build kennels and take care of the dogs.

The dogs were in pretty good condition when they arrived, he said.

"There were some who were underweight and some who had bloody noses from the crates," Misseri said. Two had to be rushed to a nearby vet for treatment, but were doing fine.

Misseri said Markwell's story that the dogs were unwanted and aggressive was not necessarily true. There were some aggressive and older dogs and some with medical problems, but most of them were adoptable.

"They're nothing compared to what he made them out to be," Misseri said. "They're good dogs who were living in rough conditions."

Both organizations are in need of donations of food, kennels and money for supplies, Misseri and Allison said.

To donate to the Guardians of Rescue, visit or call (888) 287-3864.

Donate to RUFFF at or by calling (928) 565-BARK.

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Related Links:
• Guardians of Rescue

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, January 9, 2014
Article comment by: em Lee

Im not complaining about them being her. I love dogs. But I also know that thousands of beautiful, loving, healthy dogs are killed here every year. I dont want the WA dogs to die either. Hopefully this will raise awareness and help more of them be saved.

Posted: Thursday, January 9, 2014
Article comment by: em Lee

Why are 5000 dogs killed in this county yearly if shelters can take on dogs from other cities? Dont get me wrong, I dont want any of them to die but what about the ones already here?

Posted: Thursday, January 9, 2014
Article comment by: Elizabeth Metz

I am out at RUFFF a few days each week. I see and give love to ALL the dogs, goats, pigs, and kitties each visit. They are well kept. They are well fed. Before you criticize, perhaps YOU should spend some time out there volunteering! This rescue is amazing and is run by an amazing woman and a few volunteers. It doesn't cost the county a dime. It doesn't cost anyone anything. Perhaps if you came out and participated, you'd be too busy to hide behind your computers using fake names and made up "concerned" names criticizing those who are out there trying to make a difference. There are puppies, small, medium, large, and very large animals who can be adopted. There is plenty of work to be done fixing, weeding, feeding, watering, and just playing with these furbabies who have done nothing wrong except get too old or too big for their former owners. That is their only crime. You don't have time to help but you have time to be aanonymous critics? It makes me wonder who is the real animals! Come out and help. Get up from behind your computer, get in your car, come get some fresh air, feel the sun on your face, help out a little bit, and I'll bet your hearts will grow 10 times larger... just like the grinch who stole Christmas!

Posted: Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Article comment by: Puleeeese Power

@ pl - Keep in mind that people only have so much energy and have to choose their battles based on their abilities and chances for success. You appear to have chosen your own battles, and are upset that everybody else isn't following right behind you.

Posted: Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Article comment by: Rob VanDell

Contact the VA. Vets with PTSD can use those dogs to get their bearings back.

Posted: Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Article comment by: pl .....

@Betsy again.....I remember at age 7 when our family dog was poisoned by the elderly lady neighbour next door. I wondered how anybody could be so cruel. I do not recall his barking excessively. His name was Skipper. That was in 1957. A lot has happened since then. Mike Sudkamp, who was murdered on Christmas Eve (27 rib fractures) was a man whom I knew and hired. He had some faults which dogs don't usually have (and some virtues dogs don't have), but I am reminded of the famous Irish writer C.S. Lewis' words - "A cow cannot be very good or very bad. A dog can be better and worse. A man can be much better or much worse." Those are words whose undeniable meaning should be well-considered. I still think it is sick to place more interest on the condition of dogs rather than people.

Posted: Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Article comment by: Clyde Lab

For those of you who can't read it says TEMPORARY! These are NOT Rufff's they are GoR dogs. Everybody already know that this county would rather kill an animal than save it, do you really what this county to go on record all over the united states that they would let these huge animal advocate's not save these dogs. That would surely make headline news. You don't think people already don't come here from NV & CA and dump their dogs? It happened last year. Hillary has her problems but this isn't about her or RUFFF it's about saving the lives of 124 dogs!!! Why can't something good come out of this? Why does everybody in this county so negative on every subject that is out there. Yes the economy here is bad, but it is bad all over. So instead of complaining you can help and if you don't want to help RUFFF there are other rescues. You can help the homeless, your church, the elderly, the veteran's, children services or even community services. Stop being negative and start the new year with a positive. Not one person can do it alone. Look at these rescue groups working together to have a positive goal and outcome. I praise the county for not jumping the gun and making this rescue effort work.

Posted: Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Article comment by: Nikki B

@Golden Valley Resident

The Arizona Humane Society was just out there examining the OAS dogs and they found no such matter.

The OAS dogs do NOT belong to RUFFF. They belong to Guardians, who is just "borrowing" the land out there. Guardians, to my understanding, is providing the runs, food, and other equipment for the OAS dogs.

And at this point, the OAS dogs are off limits to visitors, for everyone's safety. 30 dogs have already been adopted out and are no longer at RUFFF's facility.

For updates, you can check Guardian's website and the Peninsula Daily News website in WA (where the dogs came from).

If that's too much work for you, perhaps you shouldn't make negative comments about good people helping animals that can't help themselves.

Posted: Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Article comment by: Betsy Again

to: pl...... You wonder in amazement that there's so many postings about animals and not as much about a human murder? Simply put, dogs and all the other critters are so much better than humans....they're not selfish, they're not crue....they're devoted and loyal -- and since they have no voice, we must be their protectors - we are their voices! That's not being crazy - it's being compassionate and caring...

Posted: Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Article comment by: Betsy Again

To I Love Dogs: How ridiculous for you to claim that Hillarie let 30 dogs run into the desert to fend for themselves. As much time and energy and money that Hillarie spent on the Court Case to save her dogs, it makes no sense whatsoever, that she'd let out even one dog !! You claim to have been a volunteer when this happened?...and yet, you didn't even bother to report it? - that would have made you just as guilty!! It's quite obvious that Hillarie loves each and every one of her dogs --- Her heart must ache when she reads these cruel, fictitious, negative posts.

Posted: Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Article comment by: Betsy Again

To Golden Valley Resident. Hillarie is NOT a hoarder. An animal hoarder does not spay/neuter/groom or properly feed and care for the animals. I've been out to RUFFF plenty of times - even unannounced - and it's not a pitiful situation, and never has been. RUFFF may not be fancy, but it's clean, odor-free, her kennels are good sized, the dogs are healthy and happy. And how do you know how many dogs have been adopted in the past 1 to 2 years? where you coming up with your bogus statistics?

Posted: Monday, January 6, 2014
Article comment by: Hillarie Allison

@I LOVE DOGS- There has never, I repeat NEVER been a dog let loose in the desert from RUFFF-that is an out and out LIE! Why would you lie and say you were a volunteer here when 30 dogs were let loose? What possible reason would you have to make up such a vile fabrication? The truth is I take stray dogs in from the desert, not the other way around. You may not like my place or me, but that doesn't give you the right to make up outlandish stories that only would serve to hurt the animals here and at other rescues. Please think before you write. And if your going to make statements of "fact", don't hide behind a phony name.

I truly don't care what anyone thinks about me- it's not about me, it's about the animals that have a loving home while awaiting adoption or living out their lives instead of being destroyed at our many "kill" shelters. If people would be more responsible and care for their animals properly, there wouldn't be a need for rescues.

@GV Resident- How do you know what my adoption rate is? We've adopted many in the last 2 years, Both Environmental Health and Code Enforcement disagree with your assessment of the facility and their opinion outweighs any of your petty comments. The animals are all well-cared for, clean and loved and that's all anyone can ask for

Posted: Monday, January 6, 2014
Article comment by: Hillarie Allison

@ Butch - Your continued disdain for RUFFF only hurts the animals and your profession which you are also bad-mouthing. It's clear that you are NOT a rocket scientist and this is much more complex than you can comprehend. Grow up and get off of RUFFF's back- it's about the animals, for heaven's sake, not your hatred of me!

Posted: Monday, January 6, 2014
Article comment by: Hillarie Allison

@concerned citizen-First false statement-There are NO problems with the housing of animals per the County- that was settled in court February 2,2013- a case that I won. There is no lien on my property-another false accusation.3-the shelter in WA had no problem complying (I think that's what you meant) the law there didn't seem to care. You have had a grudge against RUFFF and you continue to slander RUFFF. I wish you had the guts to use your own name -without that, it's meaningless and just hateful. If you want to reveal who you are , I'll be glad to address you-most likely in Court!

Posted: Monday, January 6, 2014
Article comment by: Golden Valley Resident

This facility now has over 250 dogs with the new additions. Everyone feels for the plight of these animals but I urge anyone who supports this facility to actually see it for themselves before they throw support behind it. This is NOT a good situation for any of the animals. Check the adoption record for this facility. They haven't adopted any dogs our for 1 to 2 years. This my friends is an animal hoarder in disguise. It's a pitiful situation. Seeing is believing. I've seen it, and if you're an animal lover, you will probably cry.

Posted: Monday, January 6, 2014
Article comment by: @ i love dogs

If what you said in your comments is true about dogs being let out into the desert, how come it was not reported to authorities? It is illegal to dump dogs. Not to mention cruel to the poor animal.

Posted: Sunday, January 5, 2014
Article comment by: i love dogs

My Hats off to RUFF... I just pray that history doesnt repeat its self and the owner of ruff feels the need to once again lets out Opps there goes 30 dogs, into the desert to fend for themself...and yes i was a volunteer when this action took place...

Posted: Sunday, January 5, 2014
Article comment by: pl .....

I have noted this before at the Miner, but here we go again - another news article about a wheelchair-bound man murdered with 27 rib fractures rcives two published responses. This article about dogs gets 21 published responses. It isn't without reason that I started calling this place an asylum.

Posted: Sunday, January 5, 2014
Article comment by: H Q

It's Ms Allison property and she should be allowed to do with it what ever she wants as long as it doesn't cost the taxpayers anything or cause harm to others.I praise & support her efforts. She shouldn't have to go before the BOS to explain her actions it's none of there damn business. It's gov't taking control of owners property rights.
As for Bothernton she on thin ice with voters now for her recent actions.

Posted: Sunday, January 5, 2014
Article comment by: Julie Weingand

The county being involved was because of phone calls and emails from the OAS supporter's who called them to start trouble because the dogs ended up in Arizona and the old owner had no where to take them. He had pretty much burnt everyone but GOR that tried to help him. I truly think that RUFFF and GOR have done a great job along with Best friends and others to take care of these animals that were living a nightmare. Some of them have already gotten new homes and places to go and the rest will be going to other GOOD places where they will live out their lives. To say that none of the dogs were starved, just go to GOR's site and look at the pictures of the Great Dane Juno. This dog was totally emaciated as well as some other's. He was adopted by a Great Dane rescue there in Arizona. The filth and terrible way that these animals were being kept in was horrible. Now they will be given to people who will take care of them. I think that all of the volunteer's are doing a wonderful job and soon all the dogs will be homed. Be patient. Thank you.

Posted: Saturday, January 4, 2014
Article comment by: Amberlee James

Maybe just maybe there wouldn't be as many dogs in this situation, if people would take care of their pets. So I have to say.. there is alway a critic out there. I am thankful RUFFF stepped in and is rescueing the animals.

Posted: Saturday, January 4, 2014
Article comment by: Ron Butlin

It's a sad world we live in. Right when the New Year hits, people start complaining about someone trying to do a nice thing for MANY animals that they have nothing to do with, or get affected by. Happy complain year! Ugh.. So ready to move out of this town.

Posted: Saturday, January 4, 2014
Article comment by: Edie Steinke

This is a sad situation, Critic does not help!
People need to be responsible keepers of their animals, Puppies are very cute, but they grow up and depend on us to care for them, remember they are our very best friends.
Make sure your Dog/cat is safe and cannot make any babies, then we will not have so many tossed away animals, and if you can, adopt one of these animals,

Posted: Saturday, January 4, 2014
Article comment by: Mohave County Gets It

Judy Brooker. Your comment brought forward an important point that some readers seem to have missed. which is the word "temporary". This appears to have been an emergency situation, like when Red Cross steps in to temporarily assist victims of disasters until more suitable arrangements can be made. I applaud Mohave County for accommodating this temporary emergency situation, while still being mindful of it's citizens' needs and safety. Any reader still complaining about the temporary housing of these dogs, without further legitimate reason, are simply heartless and fearful over nothing.

Posted: Saturday, January 4, 2014
Article comment by: BONNIE MARSHALL


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