MANATEE -- An East Manatee animal shelter recently raided by authorities has been deemed a "sanitary nuisance" by the local health department.
"The property owners were creating a sanitary nuisance on the property by allowing the accumulation of animal feces, rotting vegetables, and maintaining conditions which represent rodent harborage and fly-breeding," wrote Tom Larkin, the environmental manager for the Florida Department of Health in Manatee County, according to county documents.
Owners Sheree and Alan Napier have 30 days to correct deficiencies upon receipt of a letter issued last week, Larkin said Wednesday.
"They indicated they would take care of our concerns," said Larkin. "They said it would most likely take several weeks for them to comply. We have no objection to that."
A health department employee will reinspect the property once they've completed their cleanup, Larkin said.
Under state statutes, if a person who does not comply with the health department order and is found guilty of a non-criminal, second-degree misdemeanor would incur a $500 fine, Larkin said.
Earlier this month, the Manatee County Sheriff's Office executed a search warrant at the Napier's Log Cabin Horse and Animal Sanctuary, 20010 State Road 64 E., as part of a fraud and animal abuse investigation. Officials said they rescued about 300 animals from deplorable conditions.
The Napiers maintain they are innocent of wrongdoing, and had taken in many sick animals in an attempt to save them, said attorney Peter Lombardo.
The couple plans to oppose a petition filed in court Friday by Manatee County
Sheriff Brad Steube, seeking custody of animals taken from their property Feb. 5 and on later occasions, Lombardo said Tuesday.
Efforts to reach Lombardo on Wednesday for comment were unsuccessful
No charges have been filed in connection with the case, which is still under investigation, officials said.
Herald reporter Jessica DeLeon contributed to this article.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.