BRADENTON – At Tuesday's Manatee County Commission meeting, members discovered again just how passionate Manatee County residents are about animal rights. Citizens demanded the county get to the bottom of the story behind the impoundment of over 300 animals at a putrid east county "sanctuary," in which no arrests have been made.
Deputy County Administrator Karen Windom read a prepared statement at the start of Tuesday's meeting, confirming reports of an investigation and how local officials were working at better understanding what happened at the sanctuary that would let such deplorable conditions fly under their radar.
Windom said she invited an independent investigation, and that the county would be forming an inquiry as well, as to whether criminal charges of fraud and abuse were warranted.
Even though there were several citizen comment cards given to BOCC Chairman Larry Bustle, it didn't prepare the commission for the flow of disappointed and furious animal rights advocates, committed animal rescue volunteers and your everyday animal lovers that would soon parade before them.
Sheree Batcheller told the commission, "The animal control system is broken. It needs to be rebuilt from the ground up."
Nathan Levinson said he and Wendy Smith, had met with Carol Whitmore and other officials back in December of last year. He said that they delivered documents back then confirming animal cruelty and abuse.
"It's time for a real independent investigation by entities other then Manatee County," Levinson said. "We demand accountability, disciplinary action and removal of guilty staff, and replacement by those that can and will carry out our community's and our county's mandate of No Kill."
Betty Kish added that someone should be fired.
Citizens described disappointment that their county, which had been billed as an exhibition as to the most humane ways a community can operate, is now being paraded as a spectacle demonstrating the worst in cruelty and abuse.
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