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

Tammie Hedges is facing upward of a dozen charges related to the medical care she freely provided to the animals.

Crazy's Claws N' Paws/FacebookCrazy's Claws N' Paws/Facebook

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.

So what had Hedges done wrong? Hedges says Sauls threatened to charge her for administering veterinary medicine without a license. And while Hedges was taking care of the pets for free, she says Sauls told "one of the independent rescuers" that "he was looking at charging me for boarding." Finally, Sauls allegedly claimed Crazy's was operating an animal shelter without a license. "We had to keep telling him we're not open as a shelter," Hedges says. "This is an emergency disaster center for displaced animals for a natural disaster. That's all it is. It's temporary."

According to a Friday press release from the county, Hedges' crime was that she didn't have the proper license to give the animals veterinary medicine. The Wayne County District Attorney's Office has charged her with 12 counts of "misdemeanor practice/attempt veterinary medicine without a license and (1) count of solicitation of a Schedule 4 controlled substance," the press release says.

Hedges, though, says the dewormer and flea medicine she gave the animals are "over-the-counter" drugs, and thus "not illegal." Certain dewormers and flea medications can indeed be obtained over the counter, while others require a prescription. It's unclear which ones Hedges was using.

Hedges was arrested Friday, the Goldsboro News-Argus reports, and eventually released on $10,000 bond. Most of the charges, she told the paper, were a result of her administering amoxicillin, which is used to treat bacterial infections, to some of the animals. She also allegedly solicited a donation of the painkiller Tramadol.

On Tuesday, Hedges plans to meet with a lawyer, and she says she'll be "laying low" until then. But she's hoping this case will lead to changes in the government, "especially for the animals."

This post has been updated.

Photo Credit: Crazy's Claws N' Paws/Facebook

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  • Texasmotiv||

    When I thought the petty tyrants couldn't sink any lowers... this is like Disney villain level.

  • Anti-Fasciitis||

    I bet his favorite Disney character is Cruella De Vil.

  • Rockabilly||

    Some one is a very mean ass hole ass hate fuck head fucker, so fuck you, you very mean ass hole ass hate fuck head fucker, and may a fucking pox strike you, you fuck head fucker !!!

  • Shirley Knott||

    Yeah, this^

  • Dace Highlander||

    I agree...I think...it's pretty hard to grasp his meaning...but I think he's upset so....ok.

  • Muzzled Woodchipper||

    But if we allow regular citizens to save animals from natural disasters without the proper licensing, we'd be just like Somalia.

  • Anti-Fasciitis||

    Hurricane Florence may have blown down some houses and flooded some places, but at the end of the day it isn't in the same league as government when it comes to destructive power.

  • See Double You||

    So, at this point, is there anyone who isn't convinced petty bureaucrats are state-sanctioned bandits?

  • Anti-Fasciitis||

    Yes. The petty bureaucrats, the politicians they protect, the people who own them, and the useful idiots who think we just need the right people in charge.

  • Rock Lobster||

    We're gonna need a bigger wood chipper.

  • snowhawk||

    Exactly!

  • Jerryskids||

    If she's giving them de-wormer and flea medicine I'm not so sure she's taking in pets so much as rounding up strays. And a cat lady calling her rescue mission Crazy's? That's a bit on the nose, don't you think? There might be more here than meets the eye, but still, is it illegal to have a couple dozen pets? Crazy cat ladies have rights, too. Sounds like big dick Animal Services Comandante Herr Sauls needs to be jammed face-down in an economy-sized litter box.

  • Anti-Fasciitis||

    None of the charges seem to indicate that there is anything more to the story, and crazy cat ladies usually don't go to the trouble of organizing a 501c3.

  • Anti-Fasciitis||

    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.

    The modern day Aesop's Fable: Never oblige a person from the government.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Dogs and Cats living together in sin!

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    Areas are still flooded, but the permit mongers are up and running.

    Wondering where the anonymous tips came from. Was it someone that lost business due to people having a free alternative? Or busybody who thought Crazy lady wouldn't give adequate care?

  • LarryA||

    It could just as easily have been one of Crazy's admirers, who called the Animal Services officer they thought cared to tout a needed alternative to letting pets drown.

  • laugh coordinator||

    Anyone that knows her knows that her heart is in the right place but her "facility", aka her house, is disgusting. She always smells of cat urine. Also, she was on facebook asking people for tramadol ( a schedule 4 substance) for the animals. This is not her first and probably wont be her last non-profit organization. I imagine there were several people that turned her in.

  • Ron||

    probably some one who doesn't want a animal rescue shelter in their neighborhood and this will most likely shut her down

  • LarryA||

    Frank Sauls, the animal services manager for Wayne County.

    During Harvey we were way too far from the coast to worry about water, but we were flooded with refugees, many of whom brought pets. Our animal service folks, and several volunteers, were busy running a temporary county shelter for the pets. They praised several local vets and animal rescue folks who took up some of the slack.

    Mr. Sauls is doing it wrong.

  • Duelles||

    Thank you Mr. Government asshole. Unless there is much, MUCH more to this than has met our eye in this blurb. . . Mr. Government asshole is how it stands.

  • sarcasmic||

    Once upon a time, Americans were fond of saying "It's a free country."

    Today people say "Who said you could do that?"

    The land of the free to ask permission.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    BREAKING NEWS!!!

    Apparently another accuser is about to step forward with a #MeToo story involving Kavanaugh! I told you all his nomination was finished!

    #Resist

  • Mark22||

    "Frank Sauls, animal service manager for Wayne County, accuses Judge Kavanaugh of molesting several kittens 35 years ago."

  • IceTrey||

    I heard it was cat juggling.

  • Longtobefree||

    pussy, not cat . . . . . . .

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The Purple state of North Carolina cannot have peons doing good deeds without state approval.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    This is all democrat bullshit.

  • StackOfCoins||

    Sauls needs a good woodchippering.

  • Rock Lobster||

    Feet first. Slowly.

  • Dace Highlander||

    I wonder where Sauls would have kept the pets assuming Crazy's said "Here you go."

  • Eddy||

    There's a county animal shelter with duly accredited veterinarians, according to their press release - people should simply have taken endangered animals there. I'm not making their position up.

  • Rock Lobster||

    Of course, past a certain census, they'd have to start euthanizing the animals--for their own good, of course.

    And the potassium/vecuronium cocktails would be administered by "duly accredited" veterinarians current and up to date in their licensure payments to the state, of course.

    The very model of government provided healthcare.

  • Priscilla King||

    Right. Right. When animal shelters have a monopoly, y'wouldn't believe the things that go on. They can hold pets for ransom starting at the full market price for a pedigreed specimen of a valuable breed if an animal fits the description for that breed, as a shelter near me did with a child's pet a few years ago. They can claim that animals showing stress in the shelter "have been abused" and give their owners a hard time, as shelters did after Hurricane Katrina. They can claim that they "don't know" that the people trying to reclaim the pets who strayed away from flooded yards are the owners of the pets (or the yards), as many shelters routinely do everywhere. They can charge inflated fees for routine rabies shots and flea powder, also a widespread practice. They can demand that the pets be sterilized and deny "knowing" that the owners have the right not to inflict elective surgery on the animals, also very common practice.

    Perhaps we need to consider a legal requirement that, in order to exist, a shelter that accepts HSUS guidelines *must* exist in competition with at least two other places where animals can be sheltered?

  • snowhawk||

    If there were anyone at the Wayne County Shelter why were animals being brought to this rescue?

  • IceTrey||

    Thank God Wayne County has caught all the murderers and rapists so they have time for this.

  • Eddy||

    They're clearing their dockets by sending fewer young troublemakers to court.

    I did a random search and found this press release about an initiative, including local cops and judges, to refer fewer juvenile criminals to juvenile court.

    https://bit.ly/2MXnsKB

    It's called the School Justice Project:

    "Currently, many students are suspended, expelled, and referred to court for minor misconduct which produces harmful outcomes for youth and their communities. Students who are suspended and expelled are more likely to repeat a grade, drop out of school, and engage in higher levels of disruptive behavior. A single suspension also triples the likelihood that a student will enter the juvenile justice system. These negative outcomes disproportionately impact certain students, including youth of color and students with disabilities, who are more likely to be suspended, expelled, and referred to court than their peers."

  • DenverJ||

    Isn't that the same stuff the school in Broward County was doing with that kid who shot the place up?

  • Rock Lobster||

    "What could possibly go wrong? And if anything does, it's the evil NRA's fault."

    Thanks in Advance,
    Your Selfless Public Servants

  • Cloudbuster||

    "Suspensions cause bad behavior" is one of the more facepalmy things I have heard in the past day. And my face is already sore.

  • CE||

    So, no bigger problems right now to worry about than trying to stop someone from helping animals without a license?

    The animals are better off dead?

    Someone should run this story on all the local papers, with a picture of the offensive bureaucrat, their salary and benefit info, and office address.

  • CGN||

    Great comment. I've been posting "Reduce government at all levels" on many websites, hoping, perhaps forlornly, that the people of this land will take back their power and show idiot government types like the ones in this article that they REPRESENT US, NOT RULE US!

  • NoVaNick||

    Another case of government protecting the common good-rather than sheltering the pets, they could have been served up to refugees along with the pet food. Anyone who disagrees with this is a member of the alt-right KKKonspiracy.

  • Rock Lobster||

    Soylent Green.

    It's not just for people anymore.

  • CGN||

    Are you kidding, or are you stupid, as it is hard to tell. If you are kidding, your comment is that of a child's, and if you are not, you are a fiend.

  • NoVaNick||

    I was being sarcastic, of course. Sorry if you find it childish, but the Reason comments section is not known for its erudite discourse. The thing is though, there are hardcore progressives, strict adherents of utilitarianism, who view pets as an unnecessary luxury that siphons billions of dollars away from helping needy people. So my comment is not too different from their line of thinking.

  • NoVaNick||

    OH, and there are also progressives who view pets as non-human slaves.

  • Ama-Gi Anarchist||

    So, what bullshit state-sucking horseshit will our resident Proggie fuckchops spew about this?

  • NoVaNick||

    See my comments above.

  • No Yards Penalty||

    Better Chip Saul

  • Pogue Mahon||

    Make some Fancy Feast out of him.

  • CGN||

    Yet more evidence that government AT ALL LEVELS needs to be reduced. I suppose the blithering idiots who arrested this women would have preferred the animals all drowned and/or starved to death than seeing a caring women help them. Where were the ASSHOLES who are harassing this women when the animals needed help that only, according to the ASSHOLES, they could give? Answer: NOWHERE! The ASSHOLES were happy to see the animals die rather than get off of their duffs and do something. Reduce government at all levels!!!!!

  • Anastasia Beaverhausen||

    You might want to take a look at that defective Caps Lock key. It's sticking on occasion.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    The only way to get the results you want is to reduce the progressive population. Otherwise it will never happen.

    Progressives are soulless vermin.

  • damikesc||

    Ignoring bad laws does not make them go away.

    Enforcing bad laws might.

  • Truthteller1||

    People have lost their fucking minds.

  • Ron||

    more proof that the government doe snot like competition even when they fail at doing what others can do.

  • Robert||

    I'd plead guilty & ask to be let off because I was obviously doing a good deed.

  • snowhawk||

    In the first place what sort of human would leave their pets behind? I don't want them for neighbors!!
    I believe everyone should be grateful that this woman stood fast and did was was necessary for the animals and if I were a resident of Wayne County I'd definitely be looking at removing from my employment Frank Sauls who seems, according to what I've read here, to have unnecessarily blown this into a criminal act.

  • markm23||

    "what sort of human would leave their pets behind?" Someone who needs to go to a shelter, nearly all of which will not allow pets.

  • vina||

    silahkan kunjungi situs

    http://www.bokepterkini.xyz/ untuk mengetahui updatean cerita dewasa terbaru

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