Did You Leave Your Dog Outside Before Irma? You Might Be Prosecuted

After officials rescued several dogs who were left outside to fend for themselves before Hurricane Irma, officials are saying that pet owners will be prosecuted.

Worker approaches dog in hiding.

After Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control was able to rescue 49 dogs, officials are saying they will be prosecuting anybody who leaves their pet outside during Hurricane Irma.

Calling the behavior “animal cruelty,” officials said they have been able to rescue 49 dogs and two cats who were abandoned by their owners as Irma made its way to Florida. They also claim that families or individuals who left their pets to suffer imminent death prior to Irma will never again be allowed to have access to their rescued pets.

In Palm Beach, pet owners who surrender their animals may have a stain on their record, which could also be held against them if they try to rescue another pet in the future.

According to Animal Care’s Director Diane Suave, Palm Beach County has at least two shelters that allow pets, and still these dogs were left “either in pens, or in yards that they would not be able to get out of, or tethered or chained,” she explained.

In cases where she can identify the former owners, Suave stated she will press felony charges. 

This isn’t the first time people have left their pets abandoned and chained up as a devastating hurricane hits their state.

In Texas, several pets were left under similar circumstances, even after being told by the authorities not to leave animals behind prior to Hurricane Harvey.

While it’s a shame that many in Texas may never be held accountable for their actions, it’s heartening to know that in Florida, former pet owners will have a hard time putting other animals under the same dangers again.

Banner and thumbnail image credit: Reuters/Ints Kalnins

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