Wayne County, NC — Tammie Hedges, an animal rights activist, attempted to be proactive and protect animals as Hurricane Florence enveloped the NC coast and her home town. She and her group of friends began rescuing animals they found in danger of dying by the rising flood waters. Each animal’s exact location was documented so the owners could be informed following the floods caused by Florence.
All the animals were then transported to a warehouse complete with cages, food, water, pee pads, and litter boxes. Volunteers even slept in the warehouse to make sure rising flood waters didn’t threaten the rescue operation.
Some two dozen animals were rescued before Wayne County Animal Control demanded the animals be turned over to them. The officers who arrived to transport the animals to the state-approved animal shelter reportedly told Hedges she was running an illegal animal shelter without a permit. Hedges disputes such allegations and says she and her group were just trying to defend the animals’ rights to life.
Hedges may now be facing criminal charges if the resulting investigation concludes she committed criminal acts. Frank Sauls, animal services manager for Wayne County, defended his county’s actions saying:
If we didn’t feel like anything was being done wrong, we would not have taken (the animals)…But that is for the courts to decide…All that will come out, if the case goes to court…But at this point, it’s very early in the investigation.
For her part, the animal rights activist claims she’s done nothing wrong.
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. it’s 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.