According to a September 25 media statement issued by Wayne County Government, charges against the North Carolina animal rescuer, Tammie Hedges (founder of Crazy’s Claws N Paws), have been dropped. Tammie is aware of this and waiting for confirmation before making a statement. She thanks everyone for their support.
Wayne County statement dismissing charges
The entirety of the statement issued by Wayne County reads:
“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 that 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.”
In part, the media release reads:
“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.“
To me, this leaves open the opportunity for the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Board to still press charges against Tammie Hedges if they so desire.
Their statement goes on to say the building didn’t meet suitable standards for license as an animal shelter. Excuse me, Wayne County, but this was an EMERGENCY! This building was simply the best place available during historic flooding when no veterinarians were open and people were in a panic with their animals.
It went on to add that Wayne County felt Tammie was soliciting for narcotics and money. On her Facebook post made September 11, these are the items she asked for!…
- C & D batteries!
- Battery powered push lights
- A generator would be great, but we will take a car inverter or 2
- Cat food (dry & canned)
- Paper towels
- And of course, VOLUNTEERS after the hurricane will be needed.
Consternation among rescuers
The decisions made by Wayne County to arrest Ms. Hedges in the first place have caused a ripple effect where rescuers in the Carolina’s are concerned of what is legal to do or not to do as to treating animals in an emergency. Many are afraid that they could face charges for stepping up to help during a natural disaster. In general there was disbelief among cat rescuers and citizens that Tammie was charged in the first place. It appears that their concerns were listen to.
Your comments on any of this are welcome.
You can click here to see the previous articles. Hopefully, this will be the last and Tammie can get on with her life.
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