FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. - The owner of the non-profit animal organization SAFFARI in Palm Coast is under investigation for selling prescription drugs and leaving the animals in her care in deplorable conditions, according to the Flagler County Sheriff's Office.
According to deputies, the owner had adopted out a puppy that ended up being sick. The adopter says the owner gave her a bottle of prescription Azithromycin and shortly after, the puppy died of Parvovirus.
"The owner gave a statement to FCSO Deputy First Class Williams and advised the puppy medication she mailed was provided to her in a "donation box" for her rescue business." The detective told the owner that it was illegal to dispense and mail antibiotics.
"The owner assured Detective Conrad that it wouldn’t happen again."
Deputies say she continued to sell large quantities of medications from her main residence. In addition, the sheriff's office says her animal rescue was no longer registered as a charitable organization making it illegal to accept donations or contributions.
When deputies conducted a search of her home, they say they found more than $20,000 in cash and multiple notes that are believed to be orders for various prescription medications. They say in total, over 100 prescription medications were found, ranging from Morphine to antibiotics from various pharmacies and doctors throughout the country.
"During the search of the property, 17 dogs, 28 cats, a squirrel, and a deceased kitten were discovered living in filthy conditions. Animal Control was notified and responded. Since the animals were seized, another kitten died."
The sheriff's office is also launching an investigation for animal cruelty.
"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 non-profits you support to make sure they are legitimate. This was a sad situation for all the animals involved but I’m glad to see they’ve been taken to safety. Hopefully, this woman never gets to own an animal again and gets to spend time behind bars for thinking she can sell drugs in Flagler County and neglect animals."
Flagler Animal Services took custody of all 46 animals while the investigation continues. 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.
Editor's Note: This story has been updated to include the correct information about the investigation.