**UPDATE** -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office says that approximately 12 dogs had to be euthanized at the site by veterinarians. Further investigation on Thursday morning revealed eight deceased dogs buried in a shallow grave on the property.
MANATEE COUNTY, FLA. – A nearly two-month investigation into an animal sanctuary and shelter continued on Wednesday when multiple agencies executed a search warrant, seizing over 300 animals from the property.
Investigators donned protective suits and masks before going inside a home at the Napier’s Log Cabin Horse and Animal Sanctuary on State Road 64.
“You can smell it out here, so you can imagine how bad it is in there,” said Manatee County Sheriff spokesman Dave Bristow, referring to the strong smell of ammonia wafting through the air.
According to Bristow, during a search of the property, they discovered more than 300 animals including dogs, cats and horses being kept in unlivable conditions on the property.
“A lot of those dogs were in the house and the house was just absolutely filthy. We have removed all the animals and we are basically going and taking a look at all the animals to make sure they are going to be okay.”
Bristow said the floors inside the home were covered in urine and feces. “The thing is it appears people were living in the house,” said Bristow.
Three veterinarians were on hand to examine the animals. Bristow said the majority of them were in decent condition and could be nursed back to health. He said there were a few in bad shape including a puppy with mange and wounds on his skin.
“We have a criminal investigation into animal cruelty and fraud,” said Bristow.
A search of tax records show that Alan and Sheree Napier own the home and property. The Napiers were not present for the search of the their property on Wednesday but according to their website, they operate a no-kill animal shelter called Napier’s Log Cabin Horse and Animal Sanctuary.
Jon May lives two doors down from the Napiers. “I’m sure they have a good heart taking animals in an everything but at some point you just got to say we are in over our head and we need help on it,” said May.
Manatee County Animal Services and multiple area animal rescue organizations are housing the dogs and cats during the investigation.
“They will be taken very well care of and hopefully when this is all over they will get adopted,” said Chris Legge from the Humane Society at Lakewood Ranch.
On Wednesday, a Manatee County building inspector declared Napier’s house unsafe and prohibited its use or occupancy until required repairs and inspections are complete.
Anyone interested in donating food or supplies for these animals or if they have any other questions or information, can call the Sheriff's Office at 941-747-3011, ext 1151. For adoption questions call Manatee County Animal Services at 941-742-5933.