WAYNE COUNTY, NC (FOX Carolina) - Charges have been dropped against a woman who took in more than two dozen animals when their owners had to evacuate before Florence hit North Carolina.
According to WHAS, Tammie Hedges, owner of Crazy's Claws N Paws rescue, had been charged with 12 counts of practicing medicine without a veterinary license after allegedly treating the animals with antibiotics and ointments. She reportedly was caring for 27 cats and dogs in a building that was being renovated, but was not legally registered as a shelter.
Wayne County Government announced Tuesday that charges against Hedges were dropped.
Below is the County’s full Facebook post:
The District Attorney’s office for the 8th Judicial District has dismissed the charges against Tammy (Tammie) Hedges. On Monday, September 17, 2018, Wayne County Animal Services officers were investigating the well-being of numerous animals that had been dropped off prior to the impact of Hurricane Florence in an unlicensed shelter in the Rosewood community. The safety and well-being of the animals was the primary concern of Wayne County Animal Services officers. Ms. Hedges surrendered all animals that did not belong to her to Animal Services. Once placed in the Wayne County Animal Shelter they were examined by a licensed veterinarian. All animals that were surrendered remained sheltered under supervision of the County of Wayne. Some animals have already been reunited with their owners and others will be when their owners are able to return to their homes. The Wayne County Animal Shelter made preparations prior to the arrival of the hurricane to have shelters staffed 24/7 with plenty of space for residents to bring their pets. The Wayne County Animal Shelter did not charge to house any pet during the storm.
On Friday, September 21, 2018, the District Attorney’s office filed multiple charges against Tammy Hedges. Ms. Hedges was released on an unsecured bond.
Earlier today, Tuesday, September 25, 2018, County Manager Craig Honeycutt was informed District Attorney Matthew Delbridge dismissed the charges with the following statement: “The protection of animals and their well-being has always been an important concern, especially during times of natural disaster. A passion for and the love of animals is laudable but does not excuse unnecessarily putting their health at risk when other, safer resources are available. The removal of animals from a building that failed to meet suitable standards for license as an animal shelter and away from the control of this defendant who has previously been censured for the unauthorized practice of veterinary medicine was a prudent decision made with the best interest of the animals in mind. This was especially true in light of her taking advantage of a dire situation to solicit money and opioid narcotics from our generous and well intentioned citizens. It is my desire that having ensured the safety of the animals in question, a dismissal of these criminal charges will minimize further distraction from my core mission of protecting the public from violent crime and allow the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Board to take whatever action they may deem appropriate.“
County Manager Craig Honeycutt thanks the many individuals who have contacted us and acknowledges their concerns. As with this natural disaster, we will continue to provide health, safety, and welfare for our pets across the County.