Orlando Sentinel

Animal rescue owner investigat­ed for selling drugs, animal abuse

- By Garfield Hylton

Authoritie­s suspect a Florida woman was selling prescripti­on narcotics in addition to abusing and neglecting animals.

Flagler County deputies executed a search warrant on Ruth Rupprecht on Wednesday, according to a Flagler County Sheriff ’s Office news release.

Rupprecht used to operate a nonprofit animal rescue organizati­on known as Save a Furry Friend Animal Rescue, Inc. (SAFFARI).

Deputies initiated the investigat­ion after she adopted out a young puppy for a fee to an adopter in May. The adopter told her the puppy was ill, and Rupprecht sent them a bottled prescripti­on for the puppy’s care. It later died, according to the press release.

Rupprecht told a deputy that she advised the medication, which she claimed to have received in her donation box, and mailed it to the adopter. Authoritie­s informed Rupprecht that mailing and dispensing antibiotic­s was illegal. She assured officials it wouldn’t happen again.

Later, the sheriff ’s office received an email from the Bureau of Compliance, Division of Consumer Services with the Florida Department of Agricultur­e and Consumer Services. They stated Rupprecht was no longer registered with them as a charitable organizati­on, making it illegal to accept donations or contributi­ons, according to the press release.

Authoritie­s, after the email, concluded Rupprecht was selling large quantities of drugs from her home.

On Wednesday, officials executed a search warrant for her Palm Coast home and another Palm Coast address for the illegal sale of narcotics, according to the press release.

Deputies found more than $20,000 in cash, multiple notes for orders of prescripti­on drugs, and over 100 prescripti­on medication­s, according to the press release. They also found 17 dogs, 28 cats, a squirrel living in filth conditions as well as a deceased kitten.

“Here’s a lady that uses innocent animals to support her drug-dealing by using them to purchase prescripti­on medication­s and sell the drugs to human customers for personal use,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “This is also why you should always thoroughly check out all nonprofits you support to make sure they are legitimate.”

Flagler County Animal Control took possession of all 46 animals as the investigat­ion continues.

 ?? FILE ?? Flagler County deputies are investigat­ing Ruth Rupprecht on suspicions of selling prescripti­on narcotics in addition to abusing and neglecting animals.
FILE Flagler County deputies are investigat­ing Ruth Rupprecht on suspicions of selling prescripti­on narcotics in addition to abusing and neglecting animals.

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