“We will find you and will prosecute you.”
These were the strong words of State Attorney Dave Aronberg.
As Irma threatened landfall in Florida, residents hurried to prepare their properties and evacuate their towns. And while most people either took their pets with them on evacuation, boarded them or sadly surrendered them to local animal shelters, there were those who did not behave as responsibly.
Shortly before the storm, the county’s Animal Care and Control center began to receive numerous calls that people had evacuated and left their dogs chained up in yards and even chained to parked cars!
Animal Care and Control Captain Dave Walesky said, “Many of them were loose inside fenced yards, some were loose in the community where they just got turned loose or some were tied and left in small cages. One of the dogs was left tied to a structure with a bowl of water and a bunch of bananas.”
The state’s attorney Aronberg promised to find those responsible for the abandoment of the dozens of dogs left outside to brave the storm in Palm Beach county, and had justifiably harsh words for the owners. “Absolutely unacceptable. People need to be responsible pet owners in this community.” He also said, “And there is no excuse for leaving your pet behind to die. We are going to hold accountable those who we can prove left their dogs behind in the storm,” says Aronberg. He called the owners actions a “prime example of cruelty.”
Though so many pets were found facing the imminent storm alone, the dark story turned tender.
Palm Beach Animal Care and Control shelter filled up, but other groups stepped in to help the situation. For example, the Charleston Animal Society in South Carolina picked up over 120 animals after Irma’s destruction.
Tonight we helped rescue 74 dogs and puppies and 54 cats and kittens from Gainesville Florida shelters! Charleston Animal Society is building a "rescue corridor" up the Eastern Seaboard, unlike anything SC has ever seen before. This rescue effort was the largest single evacuation ever done in SC! #adoptatcas #HurricaneIrma
Posted by Charleston Animal Society on Thursday, September 14, 2017
The SPCA of Cincinnati held an adoption event for Irma animal refugees. So many people wanted to adopt the animals that the SPCA held a lottery!
Even the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Orlando took in a jaw-dropping 900 dogs (and their owners) during the hurricane.
Dear family, clients and friends that are sending us messages, worried about #hurricaneirma … we are well and we decided yesterday to leave Miami … For now we are in Orlando! Ana, Tessy and Marco #besafe #prayforus #prayforflorida 🙏🙏🙏🙏 . . . Queridos familiares, amigos e clientes que estão nos enviando mensagens, preocupados com o #hurricaneirma … estamos bem e resolvemos ontem sair de Miami… Por enquanto estamos em Orlando! Ana, Tessy e Marco 🙏🙏🙏🙏
For all those who cruelly abandoned their pets, there were many who stepped up to take care of them. There is definitely a special place in our hearts for those who helped protect these innocent animals!