Owners who abandoned their pets to flee Irma could face felony charges.
Before Irma could hit Florida, about one-third of Florida residents were told to evacuate. That is more than 6.5 million people who had to pack up and leave town before the 10-15-foot storm surge could slam its way into Florida.
Unfortunately, many family pets were left behind in the days before the storm hit.
Florida authorities say that they want to press felony charges against the careless pet owners who left their animals to fend for themselves in Hurricane Irma.
Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control managed to rescue about 49 dogs - many of whom were left tied to posts outside the home.
"There is absolutely no excuse for doing that," director Dianne Suave told the New York Post.
Suave and Dave Aronberg, the state prosecutor for Palm Beach County, have promised swift punishment for those cruel dog owners.
They have a stern warning for anyone found out to be responsible for abandoning these innocent animals.
“This is a prime example of animal cruelty,” Aronberg said. “We will find you, and we will prosecute you.”
The Animal Care and Control took in about 40 cats and dogs who were given up by their owners due to the impending storm. Relinquishing a pet in Palm Beach County means that the individual gives up ownership of their animal - they can't get them back after the storm ends.
The ASPCA in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina worked tirelessly to rescue up to 600 animals who had been left in shelters or abandoned by their owners during the storm.
"It's critical for pet owners to consider their animals when preparing for any disaster, and we strongly urge them to always bring their animals with them if they have to evacuate their home," ASPCA Vice President, Tim Rickey in a statement.
Should owners who abandoned their animals during the evacuation be punished to the full extent of the law? You decide.