Animal sanctuary raid exposes Manatee County flaws

February 12, 2014 

Regarding the "300 plus animals seized" Bradenton Herald article by Jessica De Leon on Feb. 6:

Thank you to the seven or more agencies who together rescued these animals from Napier's Log Cabin Horse and Animal Sanctuary. Thank you to all the animal rescue groups and veterinarians who took over care and custody of these precious animals.

What we need to be looking at is how so many people could have known and reported for 10 years (2004-2014) that there were concerns for animals in the Napier's care and yet Manatee County Animal Services continued to place animals from their shelter at the Napier's. Manatee County Animal Services had responsibility for inspecting the Napier facility.

According to the county spokesperson, Manatee County Animal Services inspections only noted "minor violations." The sheriff's department termed the same situation "horrible" and the "worst I have seen."

It appears animal rescue groups and neighbors over the years had voiced concerns and complaints about the Napiers.

How do these animal sanctuaries of horror continue to exist? What finally prompted law enforcement and Manatee County Animal Services to act on this anonymous report and not the other complaints?

When they did act, they acted, it appears, with fully coordinated forces of at least seven agencies. How can we make an animal abuse and neglect reporting system that is effective?

Ten years is too long to wait to be rescued. It is the entire lifetime of some animals. What independent agency will investigate Manatee County Animal Services?

Terrie Hodges


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