Charges pressed against a woman who took in 27 animals during Hurricane Florence have been officially dropped.
Tammie Hedges, of Wayne County, North Carolina was arrested under suspicion of having administered medicine to the animals without a veterinary license.
Despite her charges being thrown out on Tuesday, Wayne County District Attorney Matthew Delbridge said that Hedges used the hurricane as an opportunity to ‘solicit money and opioid narcotics from our generous and well intentioned citizens’.
Hedges has admitted to giving amoxicillin and an antibiotic ointment to select animals, and commented online that the Tramadol request was intended for a veterinarian.
Hedges is the founder of nonprofit Crazy’s Claws N Paws (CCNP), which helps cover veterinary bills of companion animals.
She had intended to turn the organization’s warehouse into a shelter, but didn’t have approval at the time of the storm.
This didn’t stop her from taking action when animals were surrendered to her.
Speaking with USA Today, she said: “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.”
Good intentions aside, CCNP was forced to surrender the animals to Animal Control after the storm – which aims to reunite them with their owners.
A crowdfunding page is now open, the proceeds of which are intended to cover Hedges’ legal fees and go towards opening the new shelter.
A Facebook post from CCNP offers thanks for over $40,000 USD in donations, and notes the organizations goals going forward.
“This experience has unified rescues and has made our organization realize that not only do we need to be vigilant in our rescue efforts but, also in our legislative efforts to foster animal welfare laws that are conducive to actually helping owners, rescuers, and animals.”