People Who Abandoned Their Pets in Hurricane Irma May Face Felony Charges

Posted by Jason Sarna

Authorities in Florida are cracking down on people who abandon their pets.

According to USA TodayPalm Beach County Animal Care and Control director Dianne Sauve said the agency will pursue felony animal cruelty charges if they are able to gather enough evidence and identify those people who abandoned their pets during Hurricane Irma.

Approximately 40 cats and dogs were recovered in the days before Hurricane Irma hit Florida. Some were tied up while others were trapped inside pens or enclosed yards.

Suave said such abandonment is one of the worst things someone can do to their pet. "These are things that are not unexpected during a situation like this," said Suave. "It's always disappointing. Our goal is to keep pets and people together."

On Sunday, the Florida Department of Public Health posted a Tweet reminding people to keep their pets in mind during the storm.

In the wake of Hurricane Irma, Sauve offered some advice for pet owners, as well as people:

  • 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.

Some people claim that they have no choice but to leave their pet behind when a natural disaster hits, but according to Suave, "There is absolutely no excuse for doing that."

Do you think abandoning your pet during a natural disaster should be punishable by law? Let us know in the comments section below.

WATCH NOW: How to Prepare Your Pet for an Emergency

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People Who Abandoned Their Pets in Hurricane Irma May Face Felony Charges