As Hurricane Irma barreled up the coast of Florida, some dog and cat owners tied their pets to poles, picnic tables and cages along the side of the road and simply abandoned them. Now Animal Care and Control officers in Palm Beach County, after finding dozens of dogs dumped just prior to the storm making landfall, are expected to press charges against these heartless owners.
According to Fox News, agency director, Diane Sauve stated there was no excuse for any owner doing this. Even the Florida Department of Health tweeted out a warning on September 10:
“Do not leave your dogs tied up or chained when evacuating. Floodwaters are dangerous for people and pets.”
Could the message have been made any clearer? Diane and Palm Beach County’s state prosecutor, Dave Aronberg – who happens to be a dog lover too, says they intend to file felony prosecutions against the offenders; calling it a “prime example of animal cruelty.”
“We will find you, and we will prosecute you,” Aronberg stated.
In addition to the abandoned dogs and cats, another 40 pets were surrendered to the shelter. Fortunately volunteers from across the county stepped up to foster the animals. And for the owners who voluntarily surrendered their pets, these people are not allowed to return to the shelter and reclaim them.
“I feel torn about that at times,” stated Diane, “but we are not a boarding facility.”
Two pet friendly shelters in Palm Beach County welcomed owners and pets. Thus far, the American Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has rescued more than 600 animals in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina after Hurricane Irma.
“The ASPCA stands ready to assist animals in Hurricane Irma’s path, but the first and best line of defense for a pet will always be a well-prepared owner,” the organization posted on Facebook.
Many thanks to the unsung heroes who become the voices for those who cannot speak.
(Photo via screenshot Yahoo)
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