Woman Arrested For Rescuing And Sheltering Pets From Hurricane Florence

September 24, 2018
Hurricane Florence, Dogs, Coast Guard

(Photo by Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean via USA TODAY NETWORK)


Tammie Hedges was just trying to help those who couldn't help themselves.  

As people along the coast flee from the storms of Hurricane Florence, many leave their poor pets behind.  Locked in cages or left wandering the dangerous, flooded streets.  Hedges just wanted to help them.  "The owners got to evacuate.  They got to save themselves.  But whose going to save those animals?  That's what we did, she said.  "We saved them."

Unfortunately, the 27 animals she rescued, 17 cats and 10 dogs, landed Hedges in jail.  She brought them to her business, Crazy's Claws N Paws, a donation-based animal rescue center, which was in the process of converting a warehouse into an animal shelter.  Hedges stored the animals to keep them safe, feed them, and administer aid.  Unfortunately, Crazy's Claws N Paws was not legally registered as a shelter.  

After Florence passed through her city, Hedges received a call from Wayne County Animal Control.  She recalled, "He basically told me, 'You can voluntarily hand over the animals, or I can go get a warrant.'  A few days later they called me in for questioning and yesterday they arrested me."

Hedges is facing a myriad of charged, among them including 12 counts of practicing medicine without a veterinary license.  Wayne County issued a statement that read, "Wayne County Animal Services turned the case over to the Wayne County District Attorney's office based on suspicion of practicing veterinarian medicine without a license and presence of controlled substances.   Ms. Hedges is considered innocent until proven guilty."

All of the animals were checked by a licensed veterinarian, and all received clean bills of health.  The county is now working to reunited the pets with their owners.