The owners of a controversial animal rescue operation are in jail, facing more than a dozen animal cruelty charges.
The arrests of Alan and Sheree Napier comes after February's confiscation of hundreds of dogs, cats, horses and pigs, more than 300 animals in all.
Many dogs, and some cats, suffered from disease, fleas, and other ailments. Rooms were littered with trash, and crawling with bugs.
Investigators say they also found dead animals, buried in holes, or stuffed in a feed bag.
Alan Napier faces 15 counts of animal torture and one count of fraud and Sheree Napier faces 14 counts of animal torture. Their bond was set Friday at $1,500 for each charge.
Beth Shuttleworth took in seventeen of the Napier horses. Weeks later, he says their health has improved remarkably.
“This is our poster child, we call her Apple,” said Shuttleworth, pointing to a healthy-looking brown horse. “She could hardly get off of the trailer. You could see her ribs come out of her spine.”
Photos of the horses after their rescue show their awful conditions. Their coats were matted, and many were obviously suffering from malnutrition.
“Everybody here, we all had tears and we were crying,” Shuttleworth said. “It was unnerving, it was disgusting. It was pathetic.”
News that the Napiers are facing charges, and will stand trial for what deputies say they did, makes Beth Shuttleworth happy.
“I'm glad to hear it because justice really does need to be served at this point,” she said.
Deputies say the Napiers seemed somewhat surprised during their arrest. The lapse of time between the raid and the arrests came because the State Attorney's Office had to review the evidence.
The Napiers face charges involving 9 dogs, 5 horses, and a cat. Manatee County officials say more charges may be filed.
Alan Napier is also facing a fraud charge, because deputies say he solicited funds for his charity at the sanctuary.
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