Rules are rules for a reason.
The letter of the law is what separates us from the apes, after all.
But that doesn’t mean laws should be above reproach or at least some basic critical thinking.
One particular law that’s perhaps worth revisiting? The law in North Carolina that has gotten Tammie Hedges arrested.
Hedges, who founded “Crazy Claws N Paws” animal rescue, found herself in trouble with the law after rescuing and sheltering 27 cats and dogs while Hurricane Florence was raging according to the News-Argus of Goldsboro.
Specifically, Hedges was charged and arrested for practicing veterinary medicine without a license according to CBS News.
“We were trying to help abandoned animals,” Hedges said. “We knew North Carolina didn’t have any regulations or laws regarding shelters for animals.”
Hedges said that she had given amoxicillin to some sick animals and used a topical antibiotic ointment as well.
Of note, one of the charges Hedges faces is the solicitation of a tramadol donation. Tramadol is a prescription painkiller sometimes given to cats and dogs.
Frank Sauls, animal services manager for Wayne County, helped spearhead the effort to confiscate all 27 cats and dogs. He also fought back against some of the negative press Hedge’s arrest was garnering.
“If we didn’t feel like anything was being done wrong, we would not have taken (the animals),” Sauls said. “But that is for the courts to decide.”
Sauls did opt to remain mum on how exactly animal services had heard of the illicit veterinary activity.
“All that will come out, if the case goes to court,” Sauls added. “But at this point, it’s very early in the investigation.”
Look, I will give Sauls the benefit of the doubt. There’s little to no chance that this was some malicious sting operation. His group interceded when a woman was breaking the law.
I’m also not saying Hedges should get off completely free. She did break the law, cut and dry.
But she probably doesn’t deserve any sort of stiff penalty. A fine and perhaps some probation would more than suffice.
Hedges’ ordeal does bring up the age-old philosophical pondering about doing the right thing the wrong way.
“It’s very disturbing this happened,” Hedges said. “We were just trying to help animals. That’s what we do.”
The law shouldn’t be abolished for Hedges. Veterinary practices without certification is an active detriment to all parties involved. Real veterinarians are being undercut, animals may not get the medicine they actually need, and people get arrested.
But can the law be amended to dole out more lenient punishments in extreme cases, like a roaring hurricane?
Possibly. And it’s certainly worth looking into.
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