Wayne County officials have dropped charges against Tammie Hedges, founder and executive director of Crazy’s Claws N Paws, a non-profit, no-kill, volunteer and donation-based animal rescue shelter in North Carolina.

On September 17th, Wayne County Animal Services removed 27 cats and dogs from her shelter that had been rescued from Hurricane Florence. Later on September 21st, Hedges was taken into custody. She was charged with practicing or attempting veterinary medicine without a license and soliciting a schedule four controlled substance.

But according to an animal rescue volunteer, all of the medication was available over-the-counter, and getting the animals to certified veterinarians was impossible because they were closed.

In a statement, Wayne County officials claimed that “the safety and well-being of the animals was the primary concern of Wayne County Animal Services officers.” The District Attorney stated that “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.”

While some shelters and safe spaces for animals in the path of Hurricane Florence were reportedly planning to euthanize animals if they were not adopted before the storm hit, Tammie Hedges and the volunteers at Crazy’s Claws N Paws were trying to help and care for abandoned animals. Volunteers picked up animals and brought them to Crazy’s Claws N Paws to be safe during the storm. They noted the location of each rescue with the intention of reuniting the pets with their families after the storm. This group was part of an admirable contingent of humans who made significant sacrifices to help protect and care for nonhuman life during and after the storm.

Kathie Davidson, a Crazy’s Claws N Paws volunteer, stated that the displaced cats and dogs were being held and cared for in good conditions. “Each one had its own cage or playpen, its own water, its own food, and cats had their own litter box. There was a kennel set up with pads that dogs could be taken to to use the bathroom. All of this was inside, dry as a bone. Someone stayed all night, so the animals were never left alone.”

Thankfully the charges have been dropped and Tammie and her team can return their focus to their mission– helping animals in Wayne, Johnston, Lenoir, and Wilson counties in North Carolina find loving homes.