Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

After Raid on Shelter, Hot Debate over Letter NAPIERS: Advisory Board Writes of Reports from Animal Services, but Holds off on Vote to Send the Note

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

After Raid on Shelter, Hot Debate over Letter NAPIERS: Advisory Board Writes of Reports from Animal Services, but Holds off on Vote to Send the Note

Article excerpt

MANATEE COUNTY

Filthy conditions of an East Manatee animal rescue and the alleged shortcomings of Manatee County Animal Services personnel were once again at the center of heated discussion among advisory board members.

Jean Peelen, Manatee County Animal Services Advisory Board member and Holmes Beach City Commissioner, requested in March to draft a letter to the County Commission stating that the board was misled about the conditions at Napier's Log Cabin Horse and Animal Sanctuary through reports of Animal Services employees.

After much argument, the seven-member board voted unanimously to draft the letter and vote on it at another time.

That time came Wednesday night in a crowded community room at Central Library.

Though unexpected, the letter was approved in a 4-3 vote.

Voting for the letter being sent to the County Commission were Peelen, Rebecca Neal, David Doyens and Charles Hamilton. Votes against were cast by Luke Berglund, Lisa Barnott and Laurie Crawford.

The letter states that information regarding Napier's -- about which more than 20 complaints were filed over the last several years -- was "far from reliable. In fact it was misleading."

The letter states that Animal Services personnel reported that "Napier's was borderline but OK," and that any small problems were quickly fixed.

'A lot of emotion'

In February, the Manatee County Sheriff's Office executed a search warrant at the East Manatee property. Investigators confiscated more than 300 animals that were unhealthy and living in unsanitary conditions. Owners Alan and Sheree Napier have been charged with aggravated animal cruelty.

Berglund, veterinarian at Beach Veterinary Clinic in Cortez and chairman of the advisory board, questioned the effectiveness of sending a letter to the County Commission.

"Doing a letter does nothing," Berglund said. "They're going to get it and say, 'Well, duh. …

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