Epic storms like Hurricane Florence tend to encourage heroic behaviors. Volunteers show up to storm damaged areas looking ways to be helpful. One story of a volunteer has taken an odd turn. The woman who sheltered abandoned pets during the storm is now being charged with practicing veterinary medicine without a license.
“Tammie Hedges, founder of Crazy’s Claws N Paws animal rescue, was arrested Friday after 27 dogs and cats were confiscated from a temporary shelter,” The Daily Mail writes.
She sheltered the animals, but that is not the issue. She’s facing charges because she gave amoxicillin to some sick dogs and cats. She also asked for donations of tramadol, which is used as a painkiller.
Wayne County, North Carolina officials issued a statement that said animal control officials had “serious concern regarding the practice of veterinary medicine without a license and the presence of controlled substances.”
Hedges, though, was doing what she felt was right in the situation. She was even converting warehouse space for housing more abandoned animals.
“The goal was to make sure they were not out there drowning,” Hedges told reporters.
“We had an elderly couple, they were evacuating that afternoon, and there was no way they could take 18 animals with them.”
Before the storm, Hedges drummed up support for her shelter. She took donations. With that money, she stocked up on crates, food, and other items.
The storm hit and Hedges and other volunteers then stayed with the animals for the duration. There were 17 cats and 10 dogs in her care.
“We were trying to help abandoned animals,” Hedges said about the charges. But animal control saw things differently.
“You can voluntarily hand over the animals, or I can go get a warrant,” Hedges said the head of Animal control told her over the phone.
“If we didn’t feel like anything was being done wrong, we would not have taken (the animals),” Frank Sauls, Wayne County Animal Services Manager said. “But that is for the courts to decide.”
“We knew North Carolina didn’t have any regulations or laws regarding shelters for animals,” Hedges said. “So a group of us got together to do something to help those animals is why we opened our building to them so they’d have a safe dry place to go until their owners returned to get them.”
“I had not gone out and gotten any animals, but a couple of independent rescuers had gotten some from flooded areas and brought them to me.”
Kathie Davidson, one of the volunteers who was assisting in these efforts, spoke of the conditions. “Each one had its own cage or playpen, its own water, its own food, and cats had their own litter box. There was a kennel set up with pads that dogs could be taken to to use the bathroom.”
“All of this was inside, dry as a bone. Someone stayed all night, so the animals were never left alone.”