Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Napiers to Serve Time for Abuse

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Napiers to Serve Time for Abuse

Article excerpt

BRADENTON

Both Alan and Sheree Napier will spend time behind bars for their roles in the suffering of animals at their east Manatee County shelter.

On Friday, Circuit Judge Peter Dubensky sentenced Alan Napier to 36 months in prison followed by four years on probation. Sheree Napier was sentenced to 270 days in county jail followed by three years of probation.

Adjudication was withheld on the charges on which Sheree Napier was convicted, meaning she will not be considered a convicted felon.

Both will complete 200 hours of community service and be prohibited from owning or possessing animals in the future.

"What quality of life were you preserving when you allowed these animals to live in the conditions that they did?" asked Dubensky as he sentenced the husband and wife. "I don't know how you could've walked by them on a daily basis and seen what you saw and not have been alerted. To you it became a normal way of living."

The Napiers were convicted in February of fraud and numerous animal cruelty counts. Alan Napier was also found guilty of unlawful solicitation of funds.

The couple was charged in 2014 after the Manatee County Sheriff's Office raided Napier Log Cabin Horse and Animal Sanctuary in east Manatee County, confiscating roughly 300 animals. Detectives who raided the shelter found filthy conditions: cages and animals covered in feces and urine, flea and worm infestations and malnourished dogs, cats and horses.

Dubensky took longer than he usually does as he explained his sentence, adding that the community should know why he made the decisions he did.

"The fact that they thought they were preserving life or that the motives -- to their way of thinking -- were pure are not excuses under the law," Dubensky said. "These animals without question experienced pain, discomfort, irritation."

Dubensky explained that Alan Napier received a harsher sentence because he appeared to be the leader of the organization, which included managing the finances. However, Dubensky said Sheree Napier's participation warranted some level of punishment.

Assistant State Attorney Garrett Franzen had asked that Alan Napier receive 15 years in prison followed by 10 years on probation. …

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