Here’s an update to a previous Locker Room entry titled “Unlicensed rescue of pets during a hurricane?”:

WNCN reports that, after over 10,000 people signed online petitions urging charges be dropped again Tammie Hedges, the Wayne County District Attorney’s Office announced they would be dismissing charges against Hedges. The charges were “12 counts of misdemeanor practice/attempt veterinary medicine without a license and one count of solicitation of a schedule IV controlled substance” (tramadol, a painkiller to treat someone’s pet).

But that doesn’t mean troubles are over for Hedges, as District Attorney Matthew Delbridge’s statement suggests that the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Board may still “take whatever action they may deem appropriate.”

The story made The Washington Post, which provided some important context:

  • “[Shelter volunteer Kathie] Davidson said that the animals had nowhere else to go and that veterinary offices had closed ahead of the storm. There was an emergency veterinary clinic in another county, but she said it was impossible to transport 27 animals in the middle of a storm.”
  • “The county’s shelter had enough room for displaced animals, said Wayne County spokesman Joel Gillie, though it could not accept pets that owners wanted to surrender.”

Here is Delbridge’s statement, as posted on Wayne County Government’s Facebook page:

The protection of animals and their well-being has always been an important concern, especially during times of natural disaster. A passion for and the love of animals is laudable but does not excuse unnecessarily putting their health at risk when other, safer resources are available. The removal of animals from a building that failed to meet suitable standards for license as an animal shelter and away from the control of this defendant who has previously been censured for the unauthorized practice of veterinary medicine was a prudent decision made with the best interest of the animals in mind. This was especially true in light of her taking advantage of a dire situation to solicit money and opioid narcotics from our generous and well intentioned citizens. It is my desire that having ensured the safety of the animals in question, a dismissal of these criminal charges will minimize further distraction from my core mission of protecting the public from violent crime and allow the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Board to take whatever action they may deem appropriate.