Two men charged with stealing and damaging C.A.R.E. Animal Rescue Trailer; trailer stripped for parts

Published: Dec. 3, 2022 at 11:24 AM CST|Updated: Dec. 3, 2022 at 2:37 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Two men have been charged with stealing and damaging an adoption trailer from C.A.R.E. Animal Rescue on November 19.

Daniel J. Butts and Robert D. Hopkins are both charged with first-degree felony stealing and property damage.

According to a press release, deputies with the Greene County Sheriff’s Office and the Webster County Sheriff’s Office searched a property in the 900 block of South Ranch Road in Webster County.

Deputies were able to find the trailer on the property but noticed it had been damaged. According to C.A.R.E. Animal Rescue, the trailer was stripped for parts, and the top and sides were removed and cut into several pieces. The generator and enclosures are missing, and the air conditioner is inoperable.

C.A.R.E. shared pictures of the trailer when deputies found it on the Webster County property.

The trailer was stolen from behind the rescue’s C.A.R.E. Pet Services Center on West Battlefield.

“The amount of animals the trailer would have potentially saved in the future now being gone makes me sick,” said Pfeifer Martinez, with C.A.R.E. “This is the last thing the rescue community needs.”

The animal rescue relied on the trailer to bring up to 20 dogs and cats to adoption events. C.A.R.E. estimates it will cost $45,000 to replace the equipment.

“The cost of a customized Mobile Adoption Unit is approximately $45,000. It’s a lofty goal, but we know it’s reachable. Rescued animals searching for loving homes deserve every chance this mobile unit brings,” C.A.R.E. Founder said in a post on Facebook.

According to a previous report, a tipster called the Greene County Sheriff’s Office with a description of the driver.

“We had a caller give us a tip that they had spotted the vehicle with the trailer attached just five minutes after it was stolen in the area of West Bypass and Kearney Street. She described the driver as a white male with a dark-colored beard, dark hair had coveralls on,” according to Greene County Deputy Paige Rippee. The witness had planned on flagging down the truck driver to let them know they had some damage to the passenger side wheel on the trailer. But she couldn’t keep up with them.

C.A.R.E. staff leaders say that problem with the back wheel should be easy to spot. “The trailer had been out of commission for a little bit with an axle issue. So whoever did steal the trailer would’ve been wobbling quite a bit,” explained Rob Hardy, C.A.R.E.’s Communications Director.

Butts and Hopkins are held in the Greene County Jail on a $25,000 bond.

Adoption Coordinator Pfeifer Martinez said seeing the damaged trailer was tough.

“It’s so grim to see them empty and torn apart,” said Martinez.

Martinez has words for the two who were arrested.

“I would say, how do you think your kids would feel about this,” said Martinez. “How do you think your family would feel about this? That’s disgusting. It’s as low as you can go.”

Martinez said the trailer was used all over the area for mobile adoptions.

“We get them there. That’s their safe place before they’re adopted,” said Martinez. “I was just saying that there’d been so much like happy slobber on those crates, like excited to get adopted.”

Rob Hardy, the spokesperson with the organization, said a new trailer would cost $45,000, and they will not be pulling any money from other funds for a new trailer.

“To prey on a nonprofit, to steal from our animals and take that the ability for us to do mobile adoptions, the way it is, it stings,” said Hardy.

Martinez said every dollar counts.

“With all of those donations, it literally saves an animal every single time. Every single dollar makes a huge difference,” said Martinez.

CLICK HERE to help C.A.R.E get a new mobile adoption trailer.

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