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NC Woman Arrested for Sheltering Animals Rescued From Hurricane Without a License

NC Woman Arrested for Sheltering Animals Rescued From Hurricane Without a License

“We were trying to help abandoned animals”

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 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.


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The Friendly Grizzly | September 26, 2018 at 11:08 am

That which is not mandated is prohibited.

    My ultimate Portland bumper sticker:

    Everything Permitted
    Nothing Allowed

    If Woody Allen had done home renovation, he likely would have penned:

    Those who can’t do, teach
    Those who can’t teach, teach gym
    Those who can’t teach gym, inspect buildings

      JusticeDelivered in reply to MajorWood. | September 26, 2018 at 3:29 pm

      Those who cannot teach, become coaches.

      Coaches then become useless administrators who squander lots of education dollars on jockism.

      Most administrators are really the least competent form of politicians.

A classic example of the regulatory state, even down on the state and local level.

Should be dropped poste haste

To be a little fair, this did involve Tramadol, which has come under much stricter scrutiny due to the opioid crisis. It looks like the charges will still be dropped, which is the best move for all parties.

“This is absolutely outrageous.”

No, this is absolutely inevitable with leftism and Big Government. The utter regulation of every aspect of life. When I come across these sorts of intrusions I’m reminded of a pertinent comment from Brandeis,

“The makers of our Constitution undertook to secure conditions favorable to the pursuit of happiness. They recognized the significance of man’s spiritual nature, of his feelings, and of his intellect. They knew that only a part of the pain, pleasure and satisfactions of life are to be found in material things. They sought to protect Americans in their beliefs, their thoughts, their emotions and their sensations. They conferred, as against the Government, the right to be let alone — the most comprehensive of rights, and the right most valued by civilized men. To protect that right, every unjustifiable intrusion by the Government upon the privacy of the individual, whatever the means employed, must be deemed a violation of the Fourth Amendment.”

Olmstead, 277 U.S. 438, 476 (1928)

Olmstead meet Orwell.

This is a classic case of a local governmental entity attempting to protect its own interests.

If a person opened up their home to several injured people during or following a storm, they would not be charged with running an unlicensed hospital. If they applied topical antibiotics to wounds, they would not be charged with acting as an unlicensed physician. Usually, charges of this type require the person to identify as a physician or a hospital and, often, accept payment for their “services”.

In this case, we have what appears to be a temporary, unfunded shelter for abandoned and injured animals as a result of a storm, in which no illicit drugs were actually used [no charges of possession of controlled substances was lodged]. There has been no evidence that the defendant presented herself as a veterinarian or that she solicited any payment for housing and treating the animals that were rescued. So, it is most likely that either the local government is attempting to unfairly protect its own operations or there has been some previous friction between this woman and the Animal Control people.

There should be a dismissal of all charges.

    CincyJan in reply to Mac45. | September 27, 2018 at 2:25 am

    I agree that this smacks of a local feud, in which case resolving the feud should be her immediate concern. These things can escalate.

JusticeDelivered | September 26, 2018 at 11:55 am

One of my businesses is a farm, and I have a farm because I wanted my children to grow up in that environment. For over forty years I have in large part treated my own animals.

I remember when veterinarians did their best to keep costs reasonable, but that has not been the case for at least a decade. Now they run really high pressure campaigns to greatly increase costs. One example is when having animals neutered they push $150 in lab work. Another is them pushing ongoing medication for an animal at a cost of $30 to $100 a month. They also successfully lobbied to make lots of medication unavailable unless their palms are greased.

My philosophy is to treat otherwise healthy animals, but not to go to extreme measures when they have major problems. I have heard of people being conned into spending as much as $10,000, only to get a poor outcome.

    amatuerwrangler in reply to JusticeDelivered. | September 26, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    I would be stretching it to call my place a farm, unless you count woodpeckers and ground squirrels as livestock. But it is a nice place for me and my horses to grow old together.

    Mrs W handles all the inoculations — except rabies, thats regulated — and we have all kinds of salves, powders and potions to treat the various unpleasant events… It costs $70 to get the vet out to the property (“ranch call”) and more even if its an emergency, just to tell you how much this is really going to cost. Self-treatment is a survival tactic.

    And when there is an big emergency, like fire or flood, we have any number of guest horses on site. They get well cared for, too. No push-back from authorities as they have no means of providing this service themselves…

    It would be interesting to know if this county (in NC) even had a facility to provide the service this lady did.

    I am the proud owner of half an acre and the bullied guardian of four dogs and three cats. The cost of vet care has exploded over the course of my lifetime, not to mention the availability of specialists. One of my dogs just had ACL surgery by a doggie orthopedist. The cost for that was actually reasonable. It’s the medications that are so expensive. My vet was recommending one tick prevention pill for about $150 and it lasts 3-months. (Actual price depends on dog’s weight.) Luckily, I’ve never seen a tick in my yard. (The standard poodles keep the deer at bay, along with their ticks.) In any case, I imagine it’s the poor and the elderly who need a house pet the most, yet have the most difficulty with the expense of ownership.

Most of our nation’s woes would be solved by reducing the size of the government.

Doesn’t look like “sheltering animals” has anything to do with it. Certainly good for those who like to keep the outrage knobs cranked to 11, but it’s not clear that it has much to do with reality.

animal control officers had “serious concern regarding the practice of veterinary medicine without a license and the presence of controlled substances.”

Nope, nothing about “sheltering animals” there.

Like it or not, dispensing controlled substances without the required licensing is just about the dumbest thing one can do in America.

    MajorWood in reply to tom_swift. | September 26, 2018 at 12:31 pm

    Animal control officers were more likely concerned that people might notice how unnecessary they were in the overall scheme of things. Everything one needs to know about local government can be learned from watching The Sopranos.

    Certainly good for those who like to keep the outrage knobs cranked to 11, but it’s not clear that it has much to do with reality.

    Ding ding ding, wiiiiiiinnnnaaaaa!

Fortunately our President has a Global Plan for controlling substances.

President Trump just signed on to the Globalist Drug War. At the UN. At a meeting he sponsored. Who else is covering it besides me? The CTH (link at the link)

This may have something to do with it.

“The Latin American drug cartels have stretched their tentacles much deeper into our lives than most people believe. It’s possible they are calling the shots at all levels of government.” – William Colby, former CIA Director, 1995

Not too long after making that statement Colby died in a boating accident.

Good grief. No good deed goes unpunished.

“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.”

Those were my first thoughts upon hearing about this travesty. Abondoning a family pet to drown or be crushed by storm debris is animal cruelty. Period.

The S.C. governor should intervene for this woman concerning the extenuating circumstances of her actions, and request that the prosecutor immediately dismiss these charges.

This ain’t ‘florida man’ territory.

A woman … has been charged with practicing veterinary medicine without a license.

As much as I feel for the woman, ‘practicing without a license’ is quite a bit different than ‘sheltering’ abandoned animals.

We can whine all day that regulations are stupid and misguided (I hope the charges are dropped or she is acquitted at trial) but regulations are regulations.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to The Packetman. | September 26, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    These regulations are nothing more than lining the pockets of another not so reputable industry.

    Farmers have been taking care of their animals for a very long time, mostly with little need for veterinarians.

    In fact, lots of people have the ability to treat sick animals.

      Ranch kid here, too– go look up what she was doing.

      She’s one of the idiots that is WHY people who have been caring for their animals without being idiots, for generations, have more stupid regulations to deal with.

Bucky Barkingham | September 26, 2018 at 1:43 pm

The story says she administered medicines to animals and also solicited another veterinary medication, apparently to also be administered. In my book that amounts to practicing veterinary medicine without a license. Her actions went beyond merely sheltering animals.

It’s also not clear from the story whether the county in question requires a license to shelter a large number of animals.

Would the comments here be different if the animals were found to be in filthy and unhealthy conditions? Remember stories about animal hoarders?

    Since her justification for dosing multiple cats with amoxicillin was so that they wouldn’t infect other animals– it sounds like the building they were “preparing to use” as a shelter was not, in fact, ready to shelter animals.

    Even then, if she hadn’t been publicly soliciting a controlled substance, it’s unlikely anybody would’ve ever known, but looking at the “shelter’s” webpage, it looks like some of those folks who mean well so laws don’t apply to them.

    The mention Redneck Law below has from the DA about soliciting money suggests they might be the sub-group of the “but my good intentions!” folks who also feel like they should be well compensated for doing whatever they want.

Hold on my LI peeps. Is there more to this story? From the District Attorney’s statement dismissing the charges: (WNCN)

Delbridge’s statement also said a passion for animals doesn’t excuse putting them at risk when safer options are available.

“The removal of animals from a building that failed to meet suitable standards for license as an animal shelter and away from the control of this defendant who has previously been censured for the unauthorized practice of veterinary medicine was a prudent decision made with the best interest of the animals in mind,”

She had been previously warned about soliciting money and Tramadol, a opiate pain killer used by animals and humans. She may be pure as the driven snow and the best motives, but this wasn’t her first experience with animal control.

    Sorry. The DA’s money quote was omitted:

    Delbridge said Hedges took advantage of a dire situation and solicited money and narcotics from “our generous and well-intentioned citizens.”

Urine sample should solve that puzzle.

We had an old, typical Florida, place just south of here that had hundreds of rescued animals. Probably a hundred gators, snapping turtles, raccoons, etc. For more years than anyone could know if you had a dead cow or horse you called them and they would come to get it and feed it to their gators. Until the government, having nothing else to do, forced them to start feeding the gators, packaged and inspected meat. Because we all know what sensitive stomachs gators have.

The First Coast News article quoted in this post included the following info:
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.

My question: So what is the status of these animals now, now that they are in government hands? Are they being housed in humane conditions, awaiting their owners to claim them, or have they been “put to sleep”? Remember that the animal lovers at PETA kill nearly all of their rescued animals. Is the government any better at loving care than PETA is?

if the state corruptocracy did the same thing, they would use public money to congratulate themselves.

whoops, there may be more to the story. Perhaps the lady is not quite so innocent after all

I don’t blame those who enforce the laws. I blame those who wrote them. The laws that made this a crime need to be repealed.

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