As hurricane Irma threatened to bear down on the Florida coast recently, many people took the advice of officials to evacuate the area quickly for their own safety. For many of these families, they took as many possessions as they could and then packed up and left. However, many of these homeowners left their dogs behind in their homes or even tied up outside when the left—and they are potentially facing criminal charges for doing so. In Palm Beach County, Florida, Captain David Walesky works as the head of the Palm Beach Animal Care and Control. He believes there is no excuse for leaving animals, like dogs, behind. There is no excuse for that behavior, said the Captain, who plans to explore options for prosecution of those who abandoned their dogs.
In that particular area of Florida, shelters were actively accepting dogs in wake of the evacuation to ease the stress of leaving the area. Many people had options such as a shelter for their dogs, but instead chose to abandon their animals. In Palm Beach, Animal Care and Control reported there were 45 dogs abandoned before Hurricane Irma hit the area. In some cases, animals were tied up and left with some water and food—but that did not last long for these animals who need much more care. Many other dogs were found wandering the streets to fend for themselves as the storm hit the Florida coast.
Many of the dogs were tied to the outside of homes while others were left to roam the streets freely. Those dogs’ owners are potentially facing animal cruelty charges now, as it is considered an intentional act. Those that were intentional, including those who tied dogs up or left in them in the way of harm, they will be prosecuted.