Animal rescue owner investigated for selling drugs, animal abuse
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.