GOLDSBORO, N.C. (WNCN) – A Wayne County woman could face charges after sheltering more than two dozen pets as Hurricane Florence impacted North Carolina.
Tammie Hedges runs Crazy’s Claws n Paws, a non-profit group which helps low-income families with veterinary bills, pet supplies and other needs.
She’s in the process of converting a warehouse space along Route 581 into a shelter. With the storm approaching last week, she offered it as an option for pets to stay.
“The goal was to make sure they were not out there drowning,” Hedges said. “We had an elderly couple, they were evacuating that afternoon, and there was no way they could take 18 animals with them.”
Through donations, Hedges brought in crates, food and other supplies to help the animals get through the storm. She said volunteers stayed with the animals 24 hours a day.
She said there were 27 animals there in all, including 17 cats and 10 dogs.
On Monday, after the storm had passed, she said she got a call from Wayne County’s animal services manager Frank Sauls regarding the animals.
She said he told her, “You can voluntarily hand over the animals, or I can go get a warrant.”
She surrendered the animals. The Goldsboro News-Argus reported that Sauls said Hedges could still face charges for taking in the animals. He did not respond to requests for comment from KXAN sister station WNCN.
Kathie Davidson, a volunteer, said she was there as animal control seized the animals.
“I talked to one of the men that was here, and he said that she didn’t have this registered as a shelter,” she said.
Hedges acknowledged the facility is not formally registered as a shelter, but she said she believes she shouldn’t face charges for what happened.
“We’re not just gonna let (the animals) suffer and die and drown,” she said.
Ahead of the storm, Wayne County made its shelter available to the community to bring their pets. Hedges said some people had trouble getting in contact with the shelter to make arrangements while others didn’t want to take their animals there.
“I think it’s really sad that when someone tries to do the right thing, they’re punished for it,” said Davidson. “I’m hoping they don’t file charges. We’d like to see him reach out to her and push the reset button.”