Wayne County woman may face charges after running hurricane shelter for pets

JAMES CITY, NC - SEPTEMBER 14: Rescue workers from Township No. 7 Fire Department and volunteers from the Civilian Crisis Response Team use a boat to rescue a woman and her dog from their flooded home during Hurricane Florence September 14, 2018 in James City, United States. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm and flooding from the heavy rain is forcing hundreds of people to call for emergency rescues in the area around New Bern, North Carolina, which sits at the confluence of the Nueces and Trent rivers. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

GOLDSBORO, N.C. — As Hurricane Florence closed in on the North Carolina coast, she quickly got prepared and opened a shelter for animals, the Goldsboro News-Argus reports.

Now, she could face charges.

Tammie Hedges runs the non-profit Crazy’s Claws n Paws out of Wayne County. The organization aims to help low-income family with pet needs like veterinary bills, supplies and more.

She’s been working to turn a warehouse into a shelter, but with the looming threat of the hurricane and the potential danger it posed to pets, Hedges felt she should do something right away.

Thanks to donations, she was able to get crates, food and supplies to run the shelter while the hurricane battered the coast. All the while, volunteers stuck by the animals’ side 24 hours a day, she said.

“The goal was to make sure they were not out there drowning,” Hedges said to WNCN. “We had an elderly couple, they were evacuating that afternoon, and there was no way they could take 18 animals with them.”

In total, she took her 17 cats and 10 dogs, adding to a sum 27 animals.

Once the storm was through, however,  Wayne County’s animal services manager Frank Sauls called and gave her a choice, WNCN reports.

Either she could turn over the animals or he would get a warrant.

A volunteer said that animal services told the owner that the operation was not formally registered as a shelter, which Hedges acknowledges.

She decided to turn the animals over, but she could still face charges.

The investigation is ongoing, animal control services could not yet say what the charges are.