Woman who rescued dozens of pets during Hurricane Florence has been arrested for giving them medicines
The charges against Wayne County resident Tammie Hedges include 12 counts of practicing medicine without a veterinary license
As Hurricane Florence smashed the Carolina coast, Tammie Hedges took matters in her own hands and decided to protect the pets that might have been caught in the storm after their owners were evacuated.
However, this altruistic deed finally led to her arrest.
Hedges, a resident of Waynes County, North Carolina, was taken into custody on Friday for allegedly administering medicine to the pets without the valid authority.
The owner of Crazy's Claws N Paws, a donation-based animal rescue center, had provided shelter to around 2 dozen animals. The shelter consisted of 17 cats and 10 dogs whose owners evacuated before the storm hit.
According to abc10, Hedges said, "The owners got to evacuate. They got to save themselves. But who’s going to save those animals? That’s what we did. We saved them."
Crazy's Claws N Paws was in the process of converting a warehouse space into a proper animal shelter, and this is where Hedges decided to keep the rescued animals safe and dry. But, she got in trouble as her facility was not legally registered as a shelter.
“Our mission was to save as many animals from the flood that we could," Hedges said. "We went through Hurricane Matthew and it was horrible. There were many preventable deaths.” She then added an elderly couple alone dropped off 18 animals, and some of them were sick and injured just before the storm could hit.
Woman helped rescue pets from hurricane flooded areas & now she may face charges.— msMorgan1968 (@msmorgan1968) September 21, 2018
Officials want to charge Tammie Hedges of Crazy's Claws n Paws for operating an unregistered Shelter.
Was she meant to allow the animals to suffer & drown??
I applaud her!!https://t.co/uXlna9dmm1
On Monday after Florence passed, Hedges received a call from the Wayne County Animal Control regarding the animals she had kept sheltered. “He basically told me, 'You can voluntarily hand over the animals, or I can go get a warrant,'" Hedges said. After she willingly surrendered the animals she got a call a few days later and then was arrested on Friday.
Her charges included 12 counts of practicing medicine without a veterinary license. The non-profit animal shelter updated a Facebook status to break down the charges:
"1 count of administering amoxicillin to Big Momma, 1 count of administering Tramadol to Big Momma, 3 counts of administering amoxicillin to a white Siamese cat, 3 counts of administering a topical antibiotic ointment (triple antibiotic from Dollar Tree) to a white Siamese cat, 3 counts of administering amoxicillin to a cat known as Sweet Pea, 1 count of administering amoxicillin to an unnamed black kitten, and 1 count of solicitation to commit a crime," the non-profit writes.
One of those volunteers, Kathie Davidson, said she was "shocked and saddened" when animal control showed up to take the pets. "Of course this whole situation is unbelievable," Davidson said. "The animals seized were to be returned to their owners after the storm." Instead, she said that Animal Control has the pets.
"If they can't find the owners, the pets went from a safe place to a kill shelter," Hedges said.
The county also issued a statement about the incident, "Wayne County Animal Services turned the case over to the Wayne County District Attorney’s office based on suspicion of practicing veterinarian medicine without a license and presence of controlled substances. Ms. Hedges is considered innocent until proven guilty."
As of now, according to the petition page of Hedges, it is said that she has been released on a bond of $10k. She has multiple charges against her. Her court date is 10/17 at 1:30 pm in Courtroom 3 at the Wayne County Courthouse. She also has a consultation with a lawyer next Tuesday afternoon.
There is a Gofund me page set up to help her through the legal fees. The office also notified that all animals that were surrendered were checked out by a licensed veterinarian and that they are working to reunite them with their respective owners.