As Hurricane Irma sped towards Florida and the threat became more imminent, people began to flee the state in search for shelter and safety. In fact, they were urged to do so, and it was mandatory in some parts of the Sunshine State.
Sadly, not everyone who fled took their animals, or made proper arrangements for their pets’ safety. Not only is this extremely cruel and heartbreaking, but those people could possibly face criminal charges now!
I would like to play devil’s advocate here, but I agree. They should be charged! I have no idea how heartless a person would have to be to leave their dogs chained up outside, or trapped, while the rain fell, the winds blew, and the flood waters rose.
Animal Care and Control officers in Palm Beach County have found and rescued up to 40 dogs in the in the days before the storm made landfall. Many of them were left tied to poles or in outside pens, officials said to the New York Post.
“There is absolutely no excuse for doing that,” agency Director Dianne Sauve said to the newspaper.
Both Sauve and Palm Beach County’s state prosecutor, Dave Aronberg say that they intend to file felony prosecutions against those who may have left these dogs out in the storm.
Aronberg stated that “This is a prime example of animal cruelty,” and added, “We will find you, and we will prosecute you.”
Animal Care and Control also took in another 40 cats and dogs who were relinquished by their owners. While it’s more common during storms, the number of surrenders was higher in the lead up to Irma.
Suave said, “These are things that are not unexpected during a situation like this,” and mentioned that there are two dog-friendly beaches. She continued, “It’s always disappointing. Our goal is to keep pets and people together.”
Willingly giving up your pet in Palm Beach County means you give up ownership and therefore cannot get the pet back after the storm passes.
“I feel torn about that at times,” she said, “but we’re not a boarding facility.”
I don’t know about you, but I would not be going anywhere without my fur-babies.
Here is a video of animals in Texas being rescued after Hurricane Harvey hit:
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