A North Carolina woman named Tammie Hedges was arrested this week for sheltering animals that were rescued during Hurricane Florence. Her crime? Running an unlicensed animal shelter. This is absolutely outrageous.

CBS News reports:

North Carolina woman arrested after sheltering 27 dogs, cats abandoned during Florence

A woman who took in more than two dozen dogs and cats during Hurricane Florence has been 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.

Hedges told the News-Argus of Goldsboro that she felt she had to help the animals brought to her during the storm.

“We were trying to help abandoned animals,” Hedges said. “A group of us got together to do something to help those animals. [That’s] why we opened our building to them, so they’d have a safe dry place to go until their owners returned to get them.”

Hedges said she gave amoxicillin to some sick animals and also used a topical antibiotic ointment. She’s also charged with soliciting a donation of tramadol, a prescription painkiller sometimes used for dogs and cats.

In a statement, Wayne County said animal control officers had “serious concern regarding the practice of veterinary medicine without a license and the presence of controlled substances.”

Here’s a video report from a local news source:

The charges against this woman should be dropped and she should be given an award. As a dog owner, it is impossible for me to imagine a scenario in which I would leave my pet behind. I wonder why the people who do this to their animals aren’t held legally responsible.

First Coast News has more:

Saving pets without a permit: Good Samaritan arrested after helping animals survive Florence

“The owners got to evacuate. They got to save themselves. But who’s going to save those animals? That’s what we did,” Hedges said. “We saved them.”

The owner of Crazy’s Claws N Paws, a donation-based animal rescue center, was in the process of converting a warehouse space into a proper animal shelter when she decided to use the building to help keep pets dry. However, 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 said an elderly couple dropped off 18 of the animals, some of which were sick and injured, just before the storm.

On Monday, after Florence passed, Hedges got a call from Wayne County Animal Control regarding the animals.

“He basically told me, ‘You can voluntarily hand over the animals, or I can go get a warrant,’ ” Hedges said.

She willingly surrendered the animals.

“A few days later they called me in for questioning and yesterday they arrested me,” Hedges said.

Crazy’s Claws N Paws posted the following message on Facebook:

A Change.org petition has been launched to clear her of all charges:

Clear Tammie Hedges of all charges for opening animal shelter during Hurricane Florence!

In midst of Hurricane Florence, one woman, Tammie Hedges, decided to help her community by taking action and opening an animal shelter for pets affected by the storm, ensuring that the carelessness of pet owners did not result in adding more burden on our already full animal shelters and emergency rescue teams. This woman, Tammie Hedges of Wayne County, North Carolina, should be protected under the good Samaritan Act for her actions.

Instead, Wayne County Animal Control Services has decided to condemn and punish an upstanding member of it community because the government did not receive it’s unfair “cut” in midst of a crisis. Please use the influence that you were given by the people, for the people and help Tammie Hedges be rewarded for her due diligence in helping her community.

There is also a GoFundMe campaign to help cover her legal fees.

As I said, this woman deserves an award, not prosecution.

Featured image via WCVB video.