Manatee County Animal Services board action misinterpreted

March 23, 2014 

I was surprised by the headline in the March 13 Herald, "Animal Services board 'misled' on Napier shelter."

I appreciate reporter Sara Kennedy's interest in our Advisory Board meeting, but I wonder if she was at the same meeting. I understand sensational headlines, however; I believe your readers may have been "misled" by the reporter.

Many of the board, including me, wanted to wait until the investigation of Animal Services was completed. We discussed this at length and many of the other board members agreed.

We did agree that board member Jean Peelen could draft a proposed letter to the Board of County Commissioners concerning the Napier situation. In no way did we as a board determine that Animal Services misled us; we only agreed to consider a draft proposal.

My regret is that I did not dissent, and now the perception is that I agreed with this rush to judgment.

Ms. Kennedy interviewed at least five of the board members but chose in her article to quote only the two members who initiated and strongly supported the proposition.

If Manatee County Animal Services is culpable, that must be addressed. In the meantime, they should be afforded the same presumption of innocence as the defendants.

I urge Ms. Kennedy to attend our next meeting on April 3 to determine if the majority of the board agrees with the letter reprimanding Animal Services before the inquiry is completed.

Laurie Crawford, Manatee County Animal Services Advisory BoardBradenton

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