A North Carolina woman was arrested after providing care for pets that were abandoned during the devastation wrecked by Hurricane Florence.
Tammie Hedges, of Wayne County, took action when she found so many pets in need of rescuing. She sheltered more than two dozen animals on her property, Fox 8 reports.
“The owners got to evacuate. They got to save themselves. But who’s going to save those animals? That’s what we did,” Hedges told USA Today. “We saved them.”
Hedges explains what happened then:
Hedges owns Crazy’s Claws N Paws rescue center, which is volunteer and donations-based shelter, and was in the process of converting a warehouse into a proper animal shelter.
The animals were dropped off at her warehouse, but the facility was not registered as an official shelter.
Animal rescue volunteer Raina Nyliram said the drugs she administered were all over-the-counter medication. She said the animals needed to be cared for because the veterinarian’s office was closed.
But things went awry after that. The government stepped in not with thanks but with an arrest warrant:
Hedges said she got a call from Wayne County Animal Control on Friday and was told she had to voluntarily hand the animals over.
She handed the animals over and was arrested a few days later. Her charges include 12 counts of practicing medicine without a veterinary license.
Wayne County issued a statement of its own:
“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.”
A petition has been started to try and convince the authorities not to fine Hedges and her company for stepping in during the emergency situation… when authorities could not, by the way.
At press time the petition was only a few hundred short of its 7,000 signature goal.
**UPDATE** Sept. 26
Authorities have now dropped the charges against the woman for saving these pets.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.
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