Owners of East Manatee shelter ordered to have no contact with animals after arrests

jdeleon@bradenton.comApril 19, 2014 

MANATEE -- A judge Friday morning ordered that the owners of an East Manatee animal shelter have no contact with animals after their arrests on cruelty charges.

Alan and Sheree Napier, who were arrested Thursday, are each charged with 15 counts of aggravated animal cruelty. Alan Napier is also charged with one count of fraud.

At a first appearance court hearing, Judge Charles Roberts ordered the couple have no contact with any animals and any of the potential witnesses in the case against them.

Assistant State Attorney Lisa Chittaro requested the couple be held for a Nebbia hearing to determine if any of the money that could be used for bond was illegitimately acquired, such as profit from any crime.

Roberts denied the request and ordered bonds totaling $24,000 for Alan Napier and $22,500 for Sheree Napier remain in place. Sheree Napier was released from jail late on Friday, according to records.

Defense attorney Michael Perry appeared on behalf of the couple.

The Napiers were arrested Thursday at their residence, Napier's Log Cabin and Animal Sanctuary at 20010 State Road 64 E.

The investigation into the couple and their animal rescue is still on-going and they could face additional charges.

Alan Napier remains in custody at the Manatee County jail, records show.

Napier's Log Cabin Animal and Horse Sanctuary was raided on Feb. 5 by a multi-agency law enforcement effort led by the Man

atee County Sheriff's Office. More than 300 animals were seized and investigators also later found the remains of another 20.

News of the couple's arrest spread through the animal welfare community.

"We are pleased to see our justice system at work," Karen Slomba, associate director at Nate's Honor Animal Rescue. "We have had people who have called concerned."

Many of the callers said that the Napiers currently have animals posted for adoption, she said.

"We directed those calls to the sheriff's office," Slomba said. "There seems to be a public outcry about what is posted on the website."

Cam McCarthy, a board member with Nate's Honor, said she has seen animals the Napiers still have listed for adoption on Petango.com.

"If they're on Petango it generally means they are active," McCarthy said. "The dogs that were confiscated are not on the website, so that means these are new animals."

Currently Petango.com has three dogs and three cats listed for adoption at Napier's. Emails to the website by the Bradenton Herald have not been answered.

For the years she has worked with Nate's Honor, McCarthy said there have been concerns in the community about the Napiers.

"I was elated to find out that the arrests finally came," McCarthy said.

She recalls the days after the raid when many of the animals were brought into Nate's Honor in horrible condition.

"Some are doing great now and some are not," McCarthy said. "The biggest issue we are seeing with them is some of them don't trust humans."

Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter@JDeLeon1012.

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