“The goal was to make sure they were not out there drowning. We had an elderly couple, they were evacuating that afternoon, and there was no way they could take 18 animals with them,” Hedges explained.
“We were trying to help abandoned animals. We knew North Carolina didn’t have any regulations or laws regarding shelters for animals. So a group of us got together to do something to help those animals is why we opened our building to them so they’d have a safe dry place to go until their owners returned to get them. I had not gone out and gotten any animals, but a couple of independent rescuers had gotten some from flooded areas and brought them to me,” she added.
They offered their services free of charge and housed 17 cats and 10 dogs throughout the duration of the hurricane.
After the storm passed and the trouble was over, Hedges received a call from Wayne County’s animal services manager Frank Sauls, who threatened to get a warrant to take the animals.
“You can voluntarily hand over the animals, or I can go get a warrant,” they allegedly told her.
She complied with the order, and the pets were all taken to the Wayne County Animal Adoption and Education Center.
Volunteer Kathie Davidson said that animal control officers called Hedges a lawbreaker.
“One officer specifically told me that Tammie was operating a shelter without a permit,” she said. “I think it’s really sad that when someone tries to do the right thing, they’re punished for it. I’m hoping they don’t file charges. We’d like to see him reach out to her and push the reset button,” she added.
The government hates it when people come together and help each other without permission, and this is especially true in the midst of natural disasters as well.