MANATEE -- Sheree Napier, one of the owners of an East Manatee animal rescue convicted of animal abuse and fraud, has been released on bail as her appeal makes it way through the courts.
Napier was released from the Manatee County jail June 15 after the Second District Court of Appeals issued an order June 8 demanding bond be set. She is out on bonds totaling $24,000.
While awaiting the appellate court decision, Napier is not allowed to own or possess any animals and is forbidden from serving as an officer or director with any nonprofit organization. Circuit Judge Peter Dubensky made one exception to allow her to live with her daughter, who owns animals.
In February, a jury found Napier guilty of eight counts of aggravated animal abuse and one count of scheming to defraud. She was found not guilty of one count of unlawful solicitation, two counts aggravated animal abuse and one count animal abuse.
Her husband, Alan Napier, was found guilty of eight counts of aggravated animal abuse, one count scheming to defraud and one count unlawful solicitation. He was found not guilty of two counts of aggravated animal abuse and one count animal abuse.
The investigation into the Napiers began Feb. 5, 2014, when Napier's Log Cabin
Horse and Animal Sanctuary, 20010 State Road 64 E., was raided by a multiagency effort led by the Manatee County Sheriff's Office, who found about 300 animals living in deplorable conditions.
Prior to sentencing, Dubensky acquitted the couple of one count of aggravated animal cruelty when he agreed with the defense there was insufficient evidence to convict.
On Match 27, Sheree Napier was ordered to serve 270 days in the Manatee County jail followed by three years probation.
Alan Napier was ordered to serve three years in state prison followed by four years probation.
In April, Dubensky denied the couple's request to set bond as they each appealed their cases. The appellate court, however, ruled June 8 Sheree Napier be granted bond.
Alan Napier is serving his prison sentence while his case goes through the appeals process.