A North Carolina woman who runs an animal rescue nonprofit took in dozens of abandoned cats and dogs in the wake of Hurricane Florence, cleaning their wounds and giving them antibiotics to help them heal. On Friday, however, Tammie Hedges was arrested, with Wayne County officials accusing her of being unlicensed to practice veterinary medicine, as well as soliciting a prescription painkiller for the animals in her care, Fox News reports. Per the Goldsboro News-Argus, Hedges and other helpers with Crazy Claws N' Paws brought 27 animals—18 of them dropped off by an elderly couple, she tells USA Today—to a temporary shelter in a warehouse, one that Hedges says she's in the process of getting licensed as a full-fledged shelter. Some of those animals were sick, so Hedges gave them amoxicillin to keep them from getting worse.
"The owners got to evacuate," Hedges says. "They got to save themselves. But who's going to save those animals? ... We saved them." She adds she voluntarily turned the animals in to the local animal control agency when threatened with a warrant, but "a few days later they called me in for questioning," and then she was arrested. "You need to remember this was during a natural disaster," writes someone who says they're a volunteer for the rescue organization on its Facebook page. "She did what she needed to at that time." Hundreds of people have pledged their support to a GoFundMe in Hedges' name, which has raised more than $20,000 for her legal defense. Hedges, who was released on $10,000 bond, has her next court date in mid-October. (A viral video of another North Carolina animal rescue.)