Former Bradenton animal sanctuary vet shocked to hear abuse alle - KCTV5

Former Bradenton animal sanctuary vet shocked to hear abuse allegations

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Investigators execute search warrant at Napier's Log Cabin Horse & Animal Sanctuary in Manatee County. Investigators execute search warrant at Napier's Log Cabin Horse & Animal Sanctuary in Manatee County.
Dr. Michael Fleck of the Animal Medical Center of Bradenton. Dr. Michael Fleck of the Animal Medical Center of Bradenton.
BRADENTON, FL (WFLA) - A veterinarian who worked with a Bradenton animal sanctuary that is under investigation for animal abuse says he's shocked about allegations against the facility.

Two weeks ago, Manatee County deputies raided Napier’s Log Cabin Horse and Animal Sanctuary while investigating claims of animal abuse and fraud. Hundreds of animals were removed and many animal remains were also found in a shallow grave. The sanctuary was deemed a "sanitary nuisance" by the Manatee County Health Department.

Dr. Michael Fleck of the Animal Medical Center of Bradenton spent two years working with animals at the sanctuary. The Napier family would bring animals to him to have them spayed or neutered.

“I thought that they were very nice people. I think they were well intentioned just like every rescue group that I’m aware of."

Fleck said most animal groups take care of routine flea and tick vaccinations on their own. He recalled that he didn’t see many Napier animals in bad shape.

“I probably can’t say that they were in any different or worse shape than animals that may have been brought in by other rescue groups. The percentage of them that were say, medically deficient, was really quite minimal," said Fleck.

Fleck never visited the property. He said about a year ago, the Napier family began taking the animals to another location to be sterilized in an effort to save money.

Fleck was shocked to hear the allegations and the conditions inside of the sanctuary. He believes Manatee County officials did the right thing by taking the animals out. He speculated that unsanitary conditions could have contributed to the animals’ poor health.

“Unfortunately because of the financial situation and the money situation, it doesn’t surprise me at all that maybe [The Napier family] cut corners in areas where maybe they shouldn’t have cut corners in order to stay in existence,” said Fleck.

He firmly believes the family tried its best.

“They’re all good-intentioned, well-intentioned, trying to do the right thing. But maybe their choices just weren’t the right choices for this time,” said Fleck.

The Manatee County Sheriff's Office says that as of Wednesday afternoon, no criminal charges have been filed against the sanctuary's owners.

The Manatee County Health Department gave sanctuary owners 30 days to clean up the property. A notice which was dated Feb. 5 said there was an accumulation of animal waste on the ground and in a semi-trailer. Inspectors also found an accumulation of garbage and abandoned vehicles and appliances on the property, too. The notice said these things can attract rodents and flies which can spread disease.

Read the Manatee County Health Dept. Notice


Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.



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