Manatee County Animal Services employees avoid Napier-related charges

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MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. -- An investigation into Manatee County Animal Services' (MCAS) handling of reports of neglect at the now-defunct Napier Log Cabin Horse and Animal Sanctuary has resulted in no charges being filed against MCAS employees.

According to a summary document released by the Manatee County Sheriff's Office:

"After careful review of the documentation referred to in this timeline that involved the investigation of complaints against the Napier Animal Sanctuary; the burden of probable cause has not been reached to submit criminal charges against any one individual at Manatee County Animal Services, with regards to Florida Statues for official misconduct of neglect, malfeasance, or misfeasance." 

Despite a lack of criminal charges, the employees could still face discipline for the actions if so ordered by the Manatee County Commission.

Around 300 animals were recovered from Napier’s Animal Sanctuary in Manatee County earlier this year—the biggest the Suncoast has ever seen.

Many were left to wonder: how much did Manatee County Animal Services know about what was happening there?

During the Sheriff's Office investigation, it was discovered that some of the complaints filed against Napier were not followed up with in a timely manner by Manatee County Animal Services.

Bradenton resident Nicole Louloudis thinks they should be held accountable. "I think they should've taken their job a little more seriously and maybe checked it out."

The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office put out a report containing more than 400 pages. Between 2007-2014, Manatee Animal Services received 39 complaints against Napier—20 by e-mail and 19 were documented on an animal services activity card.

In some cases it took Animal Services Officers up to eight days to follow up on a complaint.

This leaves more questions for Nicole, who has a dog of her own and a friend who actually dealt with Napier’s Animal Sanctuary.

"One of my dearest friends actually adopted a dog from there. He was malnourished and in really bad condition and I just think if there were more dogs like that out there...and not even just dogs, they had horses's horrible."