Where would we be if the government wasn’t around to stop kind ladies rescuing animals from deadly hurricanes?
Tammie Hedges, a North Carolina resident and founder of Crazy’s Claws N Paws animal rescue, was charged with practicing veterinary medicine without a license for taking in 27 dogs and cats to prevent them from becoming sick or dying during Hurricane Florence.
“We were trying to help abandoned animals,” Hedges told reporters. “A group of us got together to do something to help those animals. [That’s] why we opened our building to them, so they’d have a safe dry place to go until their owners returned to get them.”
While caring for the animals, some of whom were sick, she reportedly administered amoxicillin and a topical antibiotic ointment. Authorities also accuse her of soliciting a donation of tramadol, a prescription painkiller used on pets. Prior to arresting and charging the woman, the Wayne County animal control office pressured her to hand over the animals, threatening to get a warrant if she failed to do so. She complied but was arrested and charged afterward despite following their orders.
Despite the local government’s actions in this case, what Hedges did was the action of a concerned animal care worker who simply did not have any access to veterinary clinics or hospitals in the middle of a hurricane.
Speaking to reporters, she said that if animal control had left the animals at her temporary rescue center, she could have a veterinary come to her place later. But during the hurricane, “vets were closed,” she explained.
“During a state of emergency, you’re not going to find anybody open. I did what I’m supposed to do. I’m not about to let an animal be in pain and run a fever. When I have the availability and the supplies to help them, I’m going to do it.”
Market Vs. Government: When Efficiency Is Punished
The private market, encompassed by countless private persons who are also members of their communities, is better equipped to answer to emergencies than the government.
When tragedy strikes, neighbors and small business owners get first-hand knowledge of what their communities are experiencing. In the meantime, government offices shut down, including those tasked with helping in emergencies.
If Wayne County animal services were genuinely worried about the animals being abandoned because of the hurricane, they would have worked around the clock to find animals in need to take them in, but that’s not what happened. As a matter of fact, another local government-run animal shelter threatened to euthanize all unadopted animals before the hurricane hit, making it clear that, to the government, the well being of the animals has little to do with their actions.
Efficiency in the private market is often seen as a threat to the government, and individuals like Hedges are punished as a result. After all, if you dare to cross the government by helping those in need, how will officials justify the implementation of policies that keep us chronically dependent on the government?