Update on Charges Against Woman Guilty of Sheltering Animals during Hurricane
By Edge Canopy
The charges against Tammie Hedges, the woman charged with practicing veterinary medicine without a license while helping animals in North Carolina during Hurricane Florence, have been dropped, as reported on the Facebook page “Crazys Claws N Paws,” owned by Tammie.
There initially seemed to be an effort to demonize the woman as a drug dealer or some kind of criminal, because of the fact that she was accused of “soliciting opioids” from people. The truth is, she was asking for a donation of Tramadol, the weakest opioid cousin there is, to try and treat animals.
According to a local WTKR news article:
“A local district attorney’s office has dropped charges against a North Carolina woman who was arrested after she took in dozens of pets during Hurricane Florence, according to CBS News.
Tammie Hedges, founder of non-profit animal rescue Crazy’s Claws N Paws, was accused of running an illegal veterinary operation before authorities confiscated the animals. She sheltered 27 cats and dogs in a warehouse that she was in the process of converting into a shelter, according to CBS affiliate WNCN-TV, and was charged with 12 counts of misdemeanor ‘practice/attempt veterinary medicine without a license.’”
She was doing it in the Southern style, practicing medicine for animals in a tight situation where people needed help the most for their pets. Her case is heroic to any person who doesn’t believe that a license is necessary to practice medicine with animals.
One incredible thing about this is that the authorities openly admitted it would be contrary to the opinion of the community as a whole if she were to be charged.
Basically there was so much outrage that the woman, just trying to help, could not be charged for practicing medicine without a license.
That means opposition to the law was formidable enough to make it unenforceable. That’s a pristinely beautiful thing for freedom, and a perfect example of that dynamic of disobedience and freedom.
Wayne County District Attorney Matthew Delbridge said in a statement that he decided to dismiss the charges in order to “minimize further distraction from my core mission of protecting the public from violent crime.”
However the figure of judicial authority lamented that, “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.”
He took it further and said the woman “took advantage” of the situation to “solicit money and opioid narcotics from our generous and well-intentioned citizens.”
That sounds like an insult and a very unrealistic assessment of the situation. If she was trying to abuse the situation, wouldn’t some people have negative feedback about her charging too much, or seeking opioids that were stronger than the mild, common one Tramadol? Look at her face, does it look like she’s scheming, or a person full of empathy?
The reality of the situation is, over 10,000 people signed online petitions demanding for these charges to be dropped, and the outcry against this was so intense, the judicial authority decided to drop the charges because it was more trouble than it was worth.
That’s the power of people trying to stand up for what they believe is right.