Florence aftermath: Charges dropped against North Carolina woman who sheltered animals

Woman Who Sheltered Animals During Hurricane Florence Arrested

Charges were dropped Tuesday against a North Carolina woman who was accused of running an illegal operation while sheltering animals during Hurricane Florence, WNCN reported.

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Tammie Hedges, the founder of Crazy's Claws N Paws in Goldsboro, was arrested Friday and charged with 12 misdemeanor counts of practicing veterinary medicine without a license and one count of soliciting a schedule IV controlled substance.

Wayne County District Attorney Matthew Delbridge dismissed all charges against Hedges, the News-Argus of Goldsboro reported.

“The protection of animals and their well-being has always been an important concern, especially during times of natural disaster,” Delbridge said in a statement. “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.”

During the storm, Hedges and volunteers from the animal rescue center took in 17 cats and 10 dogs at a warehouse that was being used as a temporary shelter. The organization is in the process of getting the warehouse licensed, the News-Argus reported last week.

"The goal was to make sure they were not out there drowning," Hedges told WNCN last week. "We had an elderly couple, they were evacuating that afternoon, and there was no way they could take 18 animals with them."
After ensuring the safety of the animals in question, Delbridge said he dismissed the criminal charges against Hedges to minimize distraction from his "core mission of protecting the public from violent crime," the News-Argus reported.

Hedges has not commented, but is aware that the charges have been dropped, according to Crazy's Claws N Paws Facebook page.

An online petition supporting Hedges had more than 29,000 signatures, and a GoFundMe page raised more than $40,000 to cover Hedges' legal fees.