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Manatee Co. calls for independent audit of Animal Services | News

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Manatee Co. calls for independent audit of Animal Services

Bradenton, Florida -- Manatee County Commissioners have launched an independent audit of Animal Services' handling of Napier's Log Cabin Horse and Animal Sanctuary.

Deputies recently removed more than 300 animals from Napier's for poor living conditions. The animals included about 200 dogs, plus cats and farm animals.

Seventeen of Alan Napier's horses have found a new temporary home at Whispering Ranches.

PHOTOS: Napier Animal Sanctuary horses rehabilitate
More: Deputies confiscate 8 horses from Manatee Co. sanctuary

"Three-quarters of them are very bad, very thin," says Beth Shuttleworth, owner of Whispering Ranches. "To see them suffer like this is upsetting."

Beth says one horses named "Apple" could barely walk when deputies dropped her off five days ago.

"It's taken time for them to get this way. It doesn't just happen overnight," says Beth.

It's a complaint echoed to Manatee County Commissioners by concerned citizens Tuesday, concerns about Animal Services' monitoring of Napier's Sanctuary.

More: Manatee animal sanctuary investigation continues

"That place did not get like that overnight and the complaints go back years," Betty Kish tells county commissioners during Tuesday's board meeting.

See Also: Manatee commissioner reacts to animal rescue

County records show since 2009 Animal Services transferred 286 animals to Napier's Sanctuary and received about a dozen complaints, but inspectors found only minor issues.

"What kind of inspections were they doing?" asks Lee Redfern of county commissioners.

Animal Services officials say access to the property was often a problem and visits were rescheduled.

"I blame Manatee County Animal Services. They have not done their job protecting animals. They just kept sending animals there knowing they couldn't investigate or inspect," Kish says.

Related: Napier fallout: 'Hands are tied' when inspecting rescue groups

"We want to get to the bottom of this," says Commissioner Carol Whitmore.

County commissioners have launched an independent audit into Animal Services handling of Napier's Sanctuary. Commissioner Whitmore suggests creating a criteria for inspecting large rescue facilities.

"We want to make sure shelters that are taking our animals are taking care of them and there's no abuse issue," says Whitmore.

While investigations continue, local rescue groups and citizens are responsible for the cost to rehabilitate Napier's animals back to health.

Whispering Ranches will be holding a fundraiser on Feb. 22, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., to help support the rescued horses.

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