Authorities in South Florida may charge people with felonies for abandoning their pets, leaving them with no chance to escape as Hurricane Irma was approaching.
Dianne Suave, Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control Director, revealed that they rescued about 40 dogs before Irma hit. Some were tied up while others were put in pens or in enclosed yards, giving them nowhere to run.
“There is absolutely no excuse for doing that,” she stated.
On Sunday, Florida Department of Public Health posted a statement on Twitter saying:
— Florida Dept. Health (@HealthyFla) September 10, 2017
Sauve announced that they will pursue felony animal cruelty charges if they can collect enough evidence and find and identify the owners of the pets.
The Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control agency’s shelter also took in about 40 cats and dogs that were given up by their owners.
She said, “These are things that are not unexpected during a situation like this. It’s always disappointing. Our goal is to keep pets and people together.”
She urges for people not to give up their pets and tells them that once you give them up, they cannot get their pets back after Irma passes.
“I feel torn about that at times,” she said, “but we’re not a boarding facility.”
Sauve also gave additional tips for pet owners:
– Don’t let your dog out right after the storm passes, it’s going to be confused by the damage and debris. Animal caretakers see a spike in animal injuries after storms because animals get cut and caught on debris.
– If you come upon an abandoned pet, use caution. The combination of confused dogs and stressed people result in an uptick of dog bites after storms.