Palm Coast, FL - A woman has been convicted on 10 counts of animal cruelty and is now permanently barred from ever operating an animal shelter again.
Ruth Ann Rupprecht was arrested and charged after a Flagler County Sheriff’s Office investigation found that she was using her shelter—Save A Furry Friend Animal Rescue, Inc., or SAFFARI—to sell narcotics. She must now serve seven and a half years of probation for her charges after pleading no contest to the charges.
As part of her plea deal, Rupprecht may not own, foster, or transport any animals. She can, however, have a companion animal, as long as it’s prescribed by a mental health specialist. Rupprecht will also be listed on an animal abuse database.
The investigation into Rupprecht kicked off in September 2021 after a puppy she had adopted out for free died. Deputies learned the puppy was sick with Parvovirus when Rupprecht sent the adopter a bottle of prescription Azithromycin, an antibiotic. When asked where she got the medication, Rupprecht said it was left in her donation box.
During a search of her home and business, more than $20,000 cash, over 100 prescription medications, and 46 animals were seized. The conditions of the animals found during the search led detectives to open another investigation for animal cruelty, which resulted in a felony arrest warrant in October 2021.