- Charges have been dismissed against the woman who took in animals during Hurricane Florence, the Wayne County Government said in a press release on Tuesday.
- Tammie Hedges had been charged with 12 counts of misdemeanour practice and attempted veterinary medicine without a licence, including allegedly administering antibiotics.
- The animals’ health was Wayne County Animal Services’ chief concern and all 27 animals have been turned over to the government. Some have even been reunited with their families.
- District Attorney Matthew Delbridge dismissed the charges to focus on “violent crime” in the area.
Charges have been dismissed against the woman who took in animals during Hurricane Florence, the Wayne County Government said in a press release on Tuesday.
“The safety and well-being of the animals was the primary concern of Wayne County Animal Services officers,” a Facebook post announcing the dismissal of the charges said. “Ms. Hedges surrendered all animals that did not belong to her to Animal Services.”
Tammie Hedges, who runs an animal rescue group called Crazy’s Claws N Paws, had been charged with practicing of veterinary care without a licence. In the wake of Hurricane Florence, the Goldsboro, North Carolina, woman housed 27 animals in a space that she was in the process of converting into an unauthorised shelter, authorities said.
While the animals were in her custody, Hedges allegedly administered the antibiotic amoxicillin to one cat, according to authorities.
But in a new statement published on their Facebook page Tuesday, the Wayne County Government said it decided to dismiss charges against Hedges.
“The protection of animals and their well-being has always been an important concern, especially during times of natural disaster,” District Attorney Matthew Delbridge began. “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.”
In the statement, Delbridge noted that Hedges had previously been “censured for the unauthorised practice of veterinary medicine” and in this case had “taken advantage of a dire situation to solicit money and opioid narcotics from our generous and well-intentioned citizens.”
Following Hedges’ arrest, all the animals were voluntarily surrendered to Wayne County Animal Services – and some have even been reunited with their rightful owners, or will be soon.
Delbridge said the criminal charges against Hedges were dismissed to focus on “violent crime” in the region.
“It is my desire that having ensured the safety of the animals in question, a dismissal of these criminal charges will minimise 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,” he said.
Hedges was previously released on $US10,000 unsecured bond. AGoFundMe to help cover her legal fees has raised more than $US40,000.
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