A woman who saved more than two dozen animals that otherwise might not have survived Hurricane Florence was arrested Friday because she did not have the appropriate permits to do so.
Tammie Hedges of Wayne County, North Carolina, had been taking care of nearly 27 cats and dogs that were abandoned by residents fleeing their homes because of the storm.
“The owners got to evacuate. They got to save themselves,” Hedges told USA Today. “But who’s going to save those animals? That’s what we did. We saved them.”
Hedges owns Crazy’s Claws N Paws, a donation-based animal rescue center, and was in the midst of turning an abandoned warehouse into a proper facility in which she could care for the animals.
“Our mission was to save as many animals from the flood that we could,” Hedges said.
Hedges was arrested and charged with practicing veterinary medicine without a license, and the animals have subsequently been confiscated from the temporary facility.
Hedges said she had been giving amoxicillin to a few of the sick animals as well as using a topical antibiotic ointment for others.
She’s also been charged for giving the animals Tramadol, a prescription painkiller sometimes used for dogs and cats, according to a Facebook post for Crazy’s Claws N Paws.
Animal control officers have “serious concern regarding the practice of veterinary medicine without a license and the presence of controlled substances,” according to a statement from Wayne County.
While Hedges felt she was doing a good deed by saving the animals, like she had similarly done in Hurricane Matthew, Frank Sauls, the animal services manager for the county, told the News-Argus something different.
“If we didn’t feel like anything was being done wrong, we would not have taken [the animals],” Sauls said.
Hedges has been charged with 12 counts of practicing medicine without a license.
“It was all over-the-counter stuff you could literally find at Dollar Tree,” Raina Nyliram, an animal rescue volunteer who started a GoFundMe page for Hedges, told USA Today.
“She couldn’t get the animals to the vet because the vet was closed. All the charges are bogus,” Nyliram added.
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