Volunteers making a difference for rescued animals

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LAKEWOOD RANCH-- All of the rescued animals involved in a massive hoarding operation are finally getting the proper T.L.C. they deserve. That includes medicine, food, baths and beds, things many of the animals have never received before today. While some may call what happened a heartbreaking situation, it's important to point out, that because of so many volunteers in this community, this story will have a happy ending.

On Wednesday, 300 dogs, cats, pigs and horses were rescued from Napier Animal Sanctuary in East Bradenton. Many of those animals were taken away to local animal rescue organizations. Volunteers at Honor Animal Rescue in Lakewood Ranch took in 75 dogs and cats.

"We are unbelievably busy right now," said Karen Slomba, with Honor.

The animals were immediately given baths and treated for various medical conditions, such as, heart worm and mange.

Numerous other organizations have taken in the animals as well, including, the Manatee Humane Society, Lakewood Ranch Humane Society and Manatee Animal Services.

"Just sitting here, petting them and making them feel safe is very rewarding," said Julie Tucker, a volunteer with Honor.

None of the animals are available for adoption just yet, since they are considered evidence in the criminal investigation against Napier.

"It's heartbreaking to think that these animals were held under the gentleman who was going to help and rescue them. Really all he was doing was making their lives miserable and causing great suffering," said Slomba.

Thanks to volunteers, that suffering has ended.

"To actually walk in and see them is heartbreaking, but at the same time, it's a happy ending for the dogs," said Jackie Humphries, a volunteer with Honor.

Even though not available for adoption, Honor is allowing some of the animals to go home with foster parents.

"We don't want to have to house them for a long time, but we will if we have to. We are doing everything we can for the best interest of these animals," said Slomba.

Rescue organizations are also looking for supplies from community members, such as, paper and cloth towels, dog food and treats, and toys.