Manatee Sheriff's Office raids animal sanctuary - WFLA News Channel 8

Manatee Sheriff's Office raids animal sanctuary

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Puppy rescued from the Napier's Log Cabin Horse & Animal Sanctuary Puppy rescued from the Napier's Log Cabin Horse & Animal Sanctuary
Veterinarians are on-scene examining the animals, many which are dogs. Veterinarians are on-scene examining the animals, many which are dogs.
Entrance of the animal sanctuary investigators confiscated animals from on Wednesday. Entrance of the animal sanctuary investigators confiscated animals from on Wednesday.
Investigators execute search warrant at Napiers Log Cabin Horse & Animal Sanctuary in Manatee County. Investigators execute search warrant at Napiers Log Cabin Horse & Animal Sanctuary in Manatee County.
Animals from Napier's Log Cabin Horse and Animal Sanctuary, 20010 State Road 64 East in Bradenton Animals from Napier's Log Cabin Horse and Animal Sanctuary, 20010 State Road 64 East in Bradenton
MANATEE COUNTY, FL (WFLA) - Hundreds of dogs, cats, horses and pigs were removed from a Manatee County animal sanctuary Wednesday and they were found in horrible shape- many of the animals were neglected or malnourished.

Manatee County deputies made the discovery while executing a search warrant, after learning about possible animal abuse and fraud.

This all happened at Napier's Log Cabin Horse and Animal Sanctuary on State Road 64.

Inside the gates of the sanctuary that sprawls around ten acres, around 300 animals were living in filth.

Tables and counter tops were littered with trash, and bugs were found crawling on kennels.

Many local animal groups were brought in to take the animals to safety.

Joan Ellis with Second Chance Boxer Rescue came to bring some dogs to a veterinarian.

Ellis said, "It's pretty unbelievable. There's dogs upon dogs all in terrible conditions."

"Their water is in a green, mucky plastic bowl," she said. "Their kibble is just thrown down on hard packed feces. There's a female that looks like she had a recent litter that's laying in a hole that she's dug out for herself."

Ellis said these animals had been neglected for a while.

She said, "They have not been abandoned. The level of care for what I would expect and what most of society expects for you to care for a pet is way below par here."

Investigators found no dead animals Wednesday.

Back in December, the sheriff's office began investigating claims of animal abuse and fraud, so on Wednesday they executed a search warrant.

A spokesperson said detectives were collecting evidence to build a case.

The official could not comment on the allegations of fraud.

The owners were out of town and no arrests are being made at this time.

According to the Napier's Log Cabin & Animals Sanctuary website, they are a non-profit 501 (c) (3) Florida corporation "dedicated to providing loving adoptive homes and sometimes permanent homes to animal in need." It continues to say they are a "No-Kill" Sanctuary that once and animal is accepted will always have a home, according to the website.

But, some animal rescue groups have had concerns about the place for years.

Colleen Malone with the Florida Dachshund Rescue said, "We've been trying to shut this place down for quite some time."

The sanctuary is operated by Alan and Sheree Napier.

The owners' attorney, Adron Walker said in a statement: "This closure also occurred despite the fact that Alan and Sheree have maintained an open, continuous dialogue with Manatee County Animal Services for years and are typically inspected by Manatee County Animal Services on a quarterly basis.

The attorney said the closure occurred "despite every effort on the part of Alan and Sheree to cooperate with all possible governmental agencies that regulate the care of animals."

The attorney said no one from the county has ever sat down with the Napiers to discuss the problems with their facility.

Walker said since 2004, the sanctuary has placed over 1,600 pets into new homes. And from 2010 through 2013, the family has cared for 286 dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens from Manatee County Animal Services.

The attorney goes on to say: "Alan and Sheree are doing all of their work without the benefit of any wealthy individual donors or large corporate donors and without the best of facilities or the greatest of resources compared to other rescue animal operations. They are taking care of, and have taken care of, hundreds of pets and other animals who would otherwise have no food, no shelter, no medical care, and no chance of adoption."

Walker asks, "Will the closure of Alan's and Sheree's sanctuary truly outweigh all of the good that it did?"

The Manatee County Sheriff's Office says the investigation is still ongoing.

Full statement from Napier's attorney

About 70 of the dogs and some of the cats from the property went to Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue in Brandenton.

Into the night a team of volunteers worked to clean and medicate the animals.

"Most are neglected. Most have fleas, skin issues, no vaccine status parasites," said Dr. Mike Bonda, a volunteer from River Landings Animal Clinic, who treated about 30 of the dogs. "Every single dog has been friendly, workable, easy-going...none have been aggressive, which is amazing for dogs who haven't had a lot of care."


Dr. Bonda said there is evidence of poor nutrition, poor housing and poor skin care from the dogs he treated Wednesday.


Cam McCarthy, who is on the Board of Director for Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue said the organization is a no-kill animal that houses animals in cottages instead of the typical kennel setting. Normally, there are 25 to 30 cats and the facility and 40 to 45 dogs, with others being in foster homes, so this week’s intake nearly doubles the population.

"It's a great bunch of animals,” McCarthy said about the dogs and cats coming onto property Wednesday. “A shame the situation had to occur but they're going to be saved."

The group here is mostly volunteer-based and the organization runs on donations. Groups like this one taking in this large of animal population need supplies (towels, bleach, laundry soap, even water for the volunteers) and financial assistance.

"I don't know when they'll be available for adoption,” McCarthy said. “We have to work with the county to see when we can make them available."

The animals still have to be spayed and neutered so McCarthy estimates it could be a 3 to 4 week timeframe.

To learn more about Nate’s Honor Rescue, click here.

If you are interested in donating food or supplies for these animals or if they have any other questions or information, you can call the Manatee Co. Sheriff's Office at 941-747-3011, ext 1151.  For adoption questions call Manatee County Animal Services at (941) 742-5933.


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