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North Carolina woman may face charges for sheltering pets during Florence

Woman faces charges after sheltering pets during Florence. (WNCN via CNN Newsource)

GOLDSBORO, N.C. (WKRC) - A North Carolina woman could face charges after sheltering more than two dozen pets during Hurricane Florence.

Tammie Hedges runs Crazy's Claws n Paws, a nonprofit group that helps low income families with veterinary bills, pet supplies and other needs. She's currently in the process of converting a local warehouse space into a shelter.

When Hurricane Florence began 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.

There were 27 animals in total - 17 cats and 10 dogs. She said volunteers stayed with the animals 24 hours a day.

On Monday, after the storm had passed, she said she got a call from a Wayne County’s animal services manager. 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 Hedges could still face charges for taking in the animals.

One volunteer Kathie Davidson said, “I talked to one of the men that was here, and he said that she didn’t have this registered as a shelter."

Hedges acknowledged the facility is not formally registered as a shelter, but she said she believes she shouldn’t face charges for what happened.

“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.”

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