Bradenton, Florida -- Manatee County Animal Services can rest easy after finding out Monday that no criminal charges will be filed at this time as a result of what happened at Napier Animal Sanctuary earlier this year.
The investigation by the Manatee County Sheriff's Office into the Napier animal abuse case also looked into the role of Manatee County Animal Services (MCAS).
During their investigation, they discovered some of the complaints filed against Napier Animal Sanctuary were not followed up in a timely manner by MCAS if at all. The sheriff's office report shows out of the 39 complaints MCAS received between 2007-2013, 24 of those complaints were never investigated.
Between 2007-2014, Napier received 135 cats and 151 dogs. During that time, MCAS received 39 complaints against Napier, 20 by email and 19 were documented on an Animal Services activity card.
Of the 20 complaints via email, 16 did not result in an MCAS officer responding to the complaint or the Napier property. Eleven of the 19 other complaints written up on an activity card were responded to by a MCAS officer.
In some cases, it took officers up to eight days to follow up on a complaint when the gate to the Napier's property was closed during their initial visit.
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However, based on the evidence, the sheriff's office says the burden of probable cause has not been reached to file criminal charges against any one individual at MCAS for official misconduct of neglect, malfeasance or misfeasance.
Even though no one has been charged, county commissioners can still decide on any disciplinary charges as a result of the report.
Ten News spoke with Ron Koper, Manatee County's director of public safety, which oversees MCAS.
Koper says while he is relieved no one will face criminal charges he is troubled by the findings. "What troubled me is there were so many complaints over a seven-year period. Thirty-nine is a lot. I hope we have not been neglectful in our administrative duty to take note of that number alone there likely should have been controls in place."
Manatee County has hired a consultant to review Animal Services' practices. The consultant begins the 12-week review on Monday.
The Napiers will go to trial on Oct. 20. Alan Napier also faces charges for fraud. The couple have also been charged with unlawful solicitation of funds and scheme to defraud
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