46 neglected animals seized at SAFFARI Animal Rescue, as owner investigated for drug sale

The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office served a search warrant on September 15 for 6 West 16th Road and 116 Sanchez Avenue in Palm Coast. The search warrant was obtained after the Major Cases Unit began investigating Ruth Rupprecht, who was leading a local animal rescue, received reports that she was selling prescription drugs.

Rupprecht operates a non-profit animal rescue organization known as SAFFARI (Save A Furry Friend Animal Rescue Inc.) and in May 2021 she adopted a young puppy for a fee and a few days later l The adopter contacted Rupprecht informing him that the puppy was ill. . Rupprecht sent the adopter a bottle of prescription Azithromycin and shortly thereafter the puppy died of Parvovirus. Rupprecht made a statement to Deputy FCSO First Class Williams and told her that the puppy medicine she had sent had been provided to her in a “donation box” for her rescue company.

FCSO Detective Conrad responded to Rupprecht’s residence, also the address registered for SAFFARI, informing Rupprecht that it was illegal to distribute and mail antibiotics. Rupprecht assured Detective Conrad that this would not happen again.

It was determined that Rupprecht continued to sell large quantities of the drugs from his primary residence on 16th Road. During the investigation, Detective Conrad received an email from the Bureau of Compliance, Division of Consumer Services, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. FCSO has been informed that the animal rescue from Rupprecht is no longer registered with them as a charity, making it illegal to accept donations or contributions.

A search warrant was obtained and served on September 15 for the illegal sale of controlled narcotics at 6 West 16th Road and 116 Sanchez Avenue. More than $ 20,000 in cash was seized inside the house along with several notes that are said to be orders for various prescription drugs. Throughout the residence, over 100 prescription drugs were found, ranging from morphine to antibiotics from various pharmacies and doctors across the country. Many were prescribed to people who did not reside in the house that Rupprecht did not know.

During the search of the property, 17 dogs, 28 cats, a squirrel and a kitten who died were found living in unsanitary conditions. Animal Control has been notified and responded. Since the animals were seized, another kitten has died. Autopsy results are pending and FCSO has launched another animal cruelty investigation.

“Here is a lady who uses innocent animals to support her drug trade by using them to buy prescription drugs and sell the drugs to human customers for personal use,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “This is also why you should always carefully check all the nonprofits you support to make sure they are legitimate. It was a sad situation for all the animals involved, but I am happy to see that they were brought to safety. Hopefully this woman never owns an animal again and spends some time behind bars thinking she can sell drugs in Flagler County and neglect the animals.

Flagler Animal Services has taken care of all 46 animals while the investigation continues. As the animals were rescued it was discovered that they were all sick and in need of medical attention and will be monitored by the Flagler Humane Society. If you would like to help these animals, you can donate unopened food to the Flagler Humane Society at 1 Shelter Drive in Palm Coast or in the future adopt one of the rescued animals.

Due to all of the circumstances, the investigation is still ongoing and FCSO is asking anyone who may have any information to contact FCSO by calling 386-313-4911 or by email. [email protected].

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