Criminal Charges for North Carolina Woman Who Sheltered Pets During Hurricane Florence

Macduff

Moderator
Apr 2010
95,940
33,117
Pittsburgh, PA
#1
A North Carolina woman says she just wanted local pets to have a safe place to stay as Hurricane Florence made landfall earlier this month. But now she's facing upward of a dozen criminal charges related to the medical care she freely provided to the animals.

Flood and tornado warnings were in effect last week in Wayne County, North Carolina, and the area got more than 10 inches of rainfall. Keeping 2016's deadly Hurricane Matthew in mind, Tammie Hedges realized that with residents evacuating, there would be animals in need of safe, dry shelter.


"It was brought to my attention from some individual rescuers that were going to go out again during this disaster and save some animals," Hedges tells Reason. "They just didn't have anywhere to put them."

But there was a solution. Hedges is the founder and executive director of Crazy's Claws N' Paws, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that takes in neglected or injured animals and finds them permanent homes. The volunteer-based, no-kill organization gives animals whatever they need, from medical care to microchipping.

Crazy's isn't a licensed animal shelter yet, but they're working on "renovating a shelter site," Hedges says. The building was not in a flood zone, and it's "easily accessible." In other words, the perfect place for pets to take refuge while Florence did her worst.

Hedges' organization took in a total of 27 pets—17 cats and 10 dogs. Thanks to donated food and other supplies, she made sure they were cared for. During the day, volunteers played with the dogs, walked them, and cleaned up after them. There was even a person who stayed at night "to make sure that the animals were not alone," she says.

On Monday, Hedges was at home when she got a call from Frank Sauls, the animal services manager for Wayne County. She says Sauls told he's received a call about flooding at the shelter site. There was no flooding, but Sauls asked her to come by anyway. When she arrived, Sauls asked if he could go inside to see the animals. She obliged.

Things quickly went south. "We didn't even get to the room that the animals were in and in and it was basically, 'you can hand them over voluntarily, or I'm going to get a warrant,'" Hedges says.
Criminal Charges for North Carolina Woman Who Sheltered Pets During Hurricane Florence


That's government for you. Some power tripping little douchebag who would rather that dogs and cats die in a natural disaster than someone saved them without his permission.
 
Likes: johnflesh

johnflesh

Former Staff
Feb 2007
26,852
19,474
Colorado
#4
Kudos to her for taking in the animals, organizing volunteers, and caring for and feeding the animals.

She probably shouldn't have practiced medicine without a license and publicly asked for donations of prescription pain killers.

She gave medicine to pets she rescued from Hurricane Florence. She was arrested for it.
No, she should have. Not to split hairs but administering medicine in a crisis is one thing and practicing it is far different.

She felt she was right and she did what she felt she had to do - and will suffer the consequences of it.

As a general comment, that's not a big deal.
 
Likes: boontito

boontito

Future Staff
Jan 2008
106,864
97,639
Most Insidious
#6
No, she should have. Administering medicine is one thing and practicing it is far different.

She felt she was right and she did what she felt she had to do - and will suffer the consequences of it.

As a general comment, that's not a big deal.
I think she did what she thought was right. Probably need more details. How long was she administering medication? Was it after people were returning? Had she made an effort to contact a licensed veterinarian who could handle that part of her rescue operation? That kind of stuff. With her involvement in the animal industry, she had to know what she was doing was wrong. Had she tried to contact the County to tell them of her situation and what she was planning to do? Tough to say she should have done what she did without knowing what else she'd done.
 
Likes: Madeline
Jun 2014
61,321
35,568
Cleveland, Ohio
#7
Criminal Charges for North Carolina Woman Who Sheltered Pets During Hurricane Florence


That's government for you. Some power tripping little douchebag who would rather that dogs and cats die in a natural disaster than someone saved them without his permission.
Well, that's one POV, certainly. Maybe it's the truth. God knows, power mad bureaucrats are not unusual.

But maybe there's a good reason. A history of animal hoarding? Stolen pets? Zoning issues?

If it really is just one power-mad government official, he deserves to be fired.
 

johnflesh

Former Staff
Feb 2007
26,852
19,474
Colorado
#8
I think she did what she thought was right. Probably need more details. How long was she administering medication? Was it after people were returning? Had she made an effort to contact a licensed veterinarian who could handle that part of her rescue operation? That kind of stuff. With her involvement in the animal industry, she had to know what she was doing was wrong. Had she tried to contact the County to tell them of her situation and what she was planning to do? Tough to say she should have done what she did without knowing what else she'd done.
Good points and we would need more details to answer - but from what I can tell she was only dealing with what was needed with specific animals.

I think in the middle of a storm when all hell is breaking loose, you do what's needed and not what the law says, point for point, every single situation. I live in Houston for over 30 years and been through Ike and Alicia, where you are unable to move from your location for up to days at a time. You do what you need to.
 

johnflesh

Former Staff
Feb 2007
26,852
19,474
Colorado
#9
Well, that's one POV, certainly. Maybe it's the truth. God knows, power mad bureaucrats are not unusual.

But maybe there's a good reason. A history of animal hoarding? Stolen pets? Zoning issues?

If it really is just one power-mad government official, he deserves to be fired.
Well without making up stuff - we do know that many are supporting her and attempting to pay her legal fees.
 
Likes: Madeline

boontito

Future Staff
Jan 2008
106,864
97,639
Most Insidious
#10
Good points and we would need more details to answer - but from what I can tell she was only dealing with what was needed with specific animals.

I think in the middle of a storm when all hell is breaking loose, you do what's needed and not what the law says, point for point, every single situation. I live in Houston for over 30 years and been through Ike and Alicia, where you are unable to move from your location for up to days at a time. You do what you need to.
I sympathize with her. I think she deserves a lot of credit for wanting to do something when others couldn't or didn't. But that assumes all of this took place "in the middle of a storm". It'd be interesting to know the full story.