Earlier this week, we reported on the story of Tammie Hedges, a Good Samaritan who was facing charges after sheltering dozens of animals during hurricane Florence ‘without a permit’. Just days later, the story has taken a turn for the worse, as Hedges was arrested and received a long list of charges for the care that she gave to animals during the storm.
After the storm passed and the trouble was over, Hedges received a call from Wayne County’s animal services manager Frank Sauls, who threatened to get a warrant to take the animals. She complied with the order, and the pets were all taken to the Wayne County Animal Adoption and Education Center. However, after the fact, she was taken in for questioning and then arrested.
“A few days later they called me in for questioning and yesterday they arrested me,” Hedges said.
On the Facebook page for the charity that Hedges runs, an update on the case was recently posted which stated:
“1 count of administering amoxicillin to Big Momma, 1 count of administering Tramadol to Big Momma, 3 counts of administering amoxicillin to a white Siamese cat, 3 counts of administering a topical antibiotic ointment (triple antibiotic from Dollar Tree) to a white Siamese cat, 3 counts of administering amoxicillin to a cat known as Sweet Pea, 1 count of administering amoxicillin to an unnamed black kitten, and 1 count of solicitation to commit a crime.”
Raina Nyliram, one of the volunteers who helped Hedges, says that all of the medicine that was given to the animals were things that could be bought over the counter. It was also reported that a number of the animals were sick or injured when they were delivered to the shelter.
“It was all over-the-counter stuff you could literally find at Dollar Tree. She couldn’t get the animals to the vet because the vet was closed. All the charges are bogus,”said Raina Nyliram, 24, an animal rescue volunteer who started a crowdfunding campaign for Hedges to help cover legal fees.
Another volunteer, Kathie Davidson, said that these animals should be with their owners, but instead, they are imprisoned with animal control.
“Of course this whole situation is unbelievable. The animals seized were to be returned to their owners after the storm,” Davidson said.
Hedges noted that the animals will likely be taken to a kill shelter if the government is not able to reunite them with their owners.
“If they can’t find the owners, the pets went from a safe place to a kill shelter,” she said.
The Wayne County government issued a statement saying:
“Wayne County Animal Services turned the case over to the Wayne County District Attorney’s office based on suspicion of practicing veterinarian medicine without a license and presence of controlled substances. Ms. Hedges is considered innocent until proven guilty.”
Hedges said that she was just trying to do the right thing.
“The owners got to evacuate. They got to save themselves. But who’s going to save those animals? That’s what we did. We saved them. Our mission was to save as many animals from the flood that we could. We went through Hurricane Matthew and it was horrible. There were many preventable deaths,” Hedges said.
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