Napier vet charged with animal cruelty

jdeleon@bradenton.comApril 20, 2014 


MANATEE -- A veterinarian used by an East Manatee shelter under investigation for animal cruelty and fraud was arrested Saturday on related charges.

Edward Dunham, a licensed veterinarian, was arrested at about 11 a.m. Saturday at his home in Palmetto and charged with one count of aggravated animal cruelty, the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

Dunham, 76, is listed as the director of veterinary medicine at Napier's Log Cabin Horse and Animal Sanctuary, according to Florida corporation documents.

The animal sanctuary was raided Feb. 5 by a multi-agency law enforcement effort led by the sheriff's office. More than 300 animals were seized, and investigators also later found the remains of 20 more.

On Dec. 22, Dunham performed a spay and hernia repair surgery on a dog, Noel, from the Napier rescue, according to his arrest report.

His records indicated that he only used a drug Ketamine, an anesthetic that is only acceptable for cats during minor, brief surgical procedures or diagnostics according to Plumbs Veterinary Drug Handbook, the report said,

"Ketamine for use in dogs is to be combined with a sedative or anesthetic as Ketamine in itself provides little or no pain management," an investigator wrote. "Ketamine strictly immobilizes the patient and induces a state of amnesia."

The dog endured excessive, unnecessary pain and suffering during the procedures and following them as a result of that being the sole medication used on the dog, according to records and Dunham's testimony, the report said.

Dunham remained in custody Saturday evening at the Manatee County jail on $1,500 bond, according to the sheriff's website.

On Thursday, the rescue's owners, Alan and Sheree Napier, were arrested and 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 Friday morning, Judge Charles Roberts ordered the couple have no contact with any animals and any of the potential witnesses in the case against them.

Roberts denied Assistant State Attorney Lisa Chittaro's request 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 related charges or crimes.

In the courtroom on behalf of the couple was defense attorney Michael Perry.

Sheree Napier bonded out on Friday on bonds totalling $21,000. Alan Napier bonded out Saturday on bonds totaling $24,000.

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

The investigation is ongoing, and the couple could face additional charges.

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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