A woman who thought she was doing a good deed by sheltering animals during the storm has been arrested for the same reason and is now gaining support from those condemning her arrest.
Tammie Hedges took in 27 dogs and cats in her shelter during Hurricane Florence but was discovered by police later to be practicing veterinary medicine without a license.
At the height of the storm, Hedges, who’s the founder of Crazy’s Claws N Paws animal rescue opened her doors in the Rosewood community of North Carolina to welcome the dogs and cats that needed shelter from the flood. According to her, she gave the ill ones, amoxicillin and also used a topical antibiotic ointment she got from a nearby Dollar Tree as well as Tramadol, an opioid painkiller.
However, upon learning about what she had done, police immediately confiscated the 27 dogs and cats and charged Hedges with 12 counts in relation to the illegal practice of veterinary medicine. According to the police, her charges stemmed mostly from the controlled substances she administered on the animals.
Hedges, whose shelter is still in the process of acquiring a license, said she was left with no choice and was only thinking of the safety of the animals.
“Vets were closed. Had they left the animals there, we could have had a vet come out here, because some vets were open later, but we didn’t get that option,” she said. “During a state of emergency, you’re not going to find anybody open. I did what I’m supposed to do. I’m not about to let an animal be in pain and run a fever. When I have the availability and the supplies to help them, I’m going to do it.”
IN SUPPORT OF HEDGES
Her sentiments earned massive support and a lot of hate for Wayne County’s animal services director, Frank Sauls. An online petition has been sent asking for Hedges not to be fined for her actions. It had 2,000 signatures as of the weekend.
In its defense, Wayne County Animal Services released a statement explaining their reasons for the arrest.
"Wayne County Animal Services made contact with Ms. Tammie Hedges and upon entering the facility they developed serious concerns regarding the practice of veterinary medicine without a license and the presence of controlled substances."
It also claimed there was enough room in Wayne County animal shelter where the animals confiscated from Hedges were sent. The animals were checked by a licensed veterinarian there and were set to be returned to their owners.
Dogs and cats weren't the only animals displaced by the devastating Hurricane Florence. A Facebook video revealed even an alligator made its way into a woman's neighborhood in Osprey Cove, Myrtle Beach.
Ducks were also spotted in another area and were later taken back to their cages after attempting to escape from the storm.
Meanwhile, horses in the Outer Banks off the coast of North Carolina didn't seem to be bothered by the hurricane as they were discovered safe and unharmed after. Even their pens were undamaged. This surprised many who saw the wrath of the storm that resulted in 11 reported deaths at the time.
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