SPRINGFIELD, Mo.- A weeks-long search for a trailer belonging to a Springfield animal rescue ended in disappointment.
On November 19, one person hooked the trailer up to an SUV, and another drove off.
The driver and the other man in the video are Daniel Butts and Robert Hopkins.
Greene and Webster County deputies arrested the two yesterday after completing a search warrant.
They are now in the Greene County Jail on a $25,000 open bond.
A man with care rescue says it went from a mobile home for pets to a flatbed on wheels.
Care animal rescue had spent weeks hoping their stolen trailer would return in one piece.
“It was almost like having a lost animal. And when we got the phone call that, we did appreciate having that closure. But again, it was not the closure that we hoped to have at all,” said Rob Hardy of C.A.R.E. Animal Rescue.
Their trailer is now disassembled into hundreds of pieces before being found by Webster and Greene County deputies.
“How it was recognizable was it was wrapped. So, you know, it said care, and I’m a rescue. And I had the pictures of the dogs and the cats. They essentially took that off. So, it just looked like a regular or enclosed white or silver trailer is what it essentially looked like once they took the wrap off,” said Page Rippee of the Greene County Sheriff’s Office.
Authorities found the trailer on a south ranch road in webster county Friday.
Deputies charged Daniel Butts and Robert Hopkins with felony stealing and property damage.
The Greene County Sheriff’s office says this isn’t their first run-in with the two.
“We have had some prior police contact with both of them, a variety of type of incidents, though,” said Rippee.
Looking at the future care, rescue says it’ll take time before they have a new trailer on the road.
“We’re neither city nor state-funded, so everything we do for our animals is the result of donations. So to have a trailer that we can’t fall back on city or state funding that we’re going to need to replace on our own is a very significant financial burden,” said Hardy.
Hardy didn’t hold back when asked what he could say to the two men facing charges.
“I would just let them know how disappointed I am in them. We are a nonprofit. We do what we can to rescue animals from death row and then find forever homes for them and for them to strip us of the ability to take animals on their field trip to find their families. It’s because they weren’t hurting us. They were hurting the animals, too,” said Hardy.
Hardy says they’ve started raising funds for a new trailer and are at $4000 so far.
Daniel and Robert were formally charged with Felony Stealing and Property Damage in the 1st Degree with a $25,000.00 Open Court Bond and are housed in the Greene County Jail. Greene County Cases 2231-CR05444 and 2231-CR05445.