Charges Dropped for Woman Sheltering Animals During Hurricane Florence

The charges have recently been dropped for a North Carolina woman named Tammy Hedges who took in and cared for about 27 animals that were left behind during Hurricane Florence.

Hedges was charged with 12 counts of practicing medicine without a veterinary license because she housed these animals in a place that was not legally registered as a shelter and provided them with medicine. CBS News reported that she had previously been censured for practicing veterinary medicine with no authorization.

In a media Interview, Hedges explained that she just wanted to do what was right and help animals. “People found and brought the animals to her, and she consented to shelter them until their owners returned.” According to WHAS, she was getting ready to convert this building into an animal shelter but wanted to use the available space to keep animals safe during the storm. She also admitted to giving the animals prescribed painkillers, along with other types of medication, to the sick pets.

Wayne County had offered shelter for pets in a licensed facility during the storm free of charge, so limited space was not a factor the district considered when charging her. The District Attorney released a statement in a Facebook post, “The protection of animals and their well-being has always been an important concern, especially during times of natural disaster. A passion for and the love of animals is laudable but does not excuse unnecessarily putting their health at risk when other, safer resources are available.”

She surrendered all of these animals to the county, and they were looked at by licensed veterinarians. After this procedure, the county decided to drop all charges to “minimize further distraction from [the county manager’s] core mission of protecting the public from violent crime and allow the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Board to take whatever action they may deem appropriate,” according to Fox Carolina. It is not clear right now whether or not the Veterinary Medicine board will choose to take any action.

Hedges is the founder of an animal rescue called “Crazys Claws N Paws,” who posted on their Facebook page that they are “very blessed that the charges have been dismissed,” and remain optimistic that no other charges will come of this.

After she was charged, an online petition was signed by over 10,000 people who wanted her charges to be dropped. Some even called the Wayne County D.A.’s office to share their outrage over the charges and poor treatment of a good Samaritan that took action to protect animals during a natural disaster, according to The Dogington Post.


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