WJTV News Channel 12 - Documents reveal conditions at Manatee animal rescue

Documents reveal conditions at Manatee animal rescue

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MANATEE COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

Documents obtained Tuesday exclusively by News Channel 8 spell out more about the conditions at Napier's Log Cabin Horse & Animal Sanctuary, which deputies took hundreds of animals from earlier this month.

An affidavit and search warrant suggest that the organization, at 20010 State Rd. 64 East in Bradenton, solicited funds as a charity when it shouldn't have.

"I have confirmed with the State of Florida, Department of Agriculture that Napier's Animal Rescue's registration to solicit funds as a charitable organization had expired July 13th 2013," the paperwork states. "I have confirmed that Napier's continues to solicit donations."

Peter Lombardo, a Bradenton attorney who represents the rescue's owners, says the operators paid a fee to the state to clear that up.

"Unfortunately the Sheriff's Office didn't mention that in their affidavit for a search warrant," Lombardo said. "I think it's misleading. Were there animals that were sick? Of course there were. Were there animals that died? Of course there were. But without knowing how the animals were when they came - to the Napier Sanctuary - it's impossible to say that the Napier's abused any of these animals."

The documents outline the hundreds of animals taken from the sanctuary that day: horses, dogs, cats, goats, pigs, ducks and chickens. One list details the decomposed animals found on property including, 14 decomposed dogs, four cats, a goat and a "feed bag with unknown amount of small dogs."

"Every single one of those animals that was put down at the Napier Sanctuary - was done with the approval of their veterinarian," Lombardo said, adding that the rescue took in animals others turned away. "There were a lot of other people who had the opportunity to take these dogs and they refused to do so because they were so sick."

Jodi Sorrentino,a veterinarian at Ranch Animal Hospital in Manatee County, is now treating some of the dogs and cats taken from the sanctuary.

"We have yet to see any records that any of these animals were receiving care," she said.

Sorrentino said most of the dogs had fleas or intestinal parasites and 15 of them had heart-worms. One of the dogs had to be euthanized because of the advanced stage of heart-worm.

"He really didn't have to die," she said. "If he had simply received heart-worm prevention, he would still be here."

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