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November 2023

Despicable People Abandon Their Pets During Hurricane Irma

Monday, September 11, 2017
posted by Jim Murphy reported the following story on how many pets were abandoned during hurricane Irma. It is inconceivable to me that people would just leave their pets behind. Luckily many of these pets were rescued and will be given better homes. If you own a pet and abandoned it, you don’t deserve to get that pet back. That pet deserves a better, more loving home with someone else. Here’s the story published by

As Hurricane Irma bore down on the Florida Keys with 130-miles-per-hour winds Sunday morning, Florida animal control officers were scrambling to rescue dozens of pets that had been abandoned by their owners before the Category 4 hurricane raked up Florida’s west coast. Palm Beach County Animal Care reported animal control had found – and rescued – more than 50 dogs and cats abandoned outside ahead of Hurricane Irma. Given the danger of the approaching hurricane, many have characterized the pet owners’ abandonment as animal cruelty.

In the last 48 hours, Palm Beach Country Animal Care rescued 48 dogs and two cats left to brave the incoming hurricane outside by neglectful owners. According to local news broadcaster NBC 12, the animals were abandoned outside, trapped in yards and crates or tied to trees and cars, by owners who’d appeared to have evacuated ahead of Hurricane Irma. Given Hurricane Irma’s violent winds, heavy rains, and life-threatening storm surge, the animals would have likely had a slim chance of surviving the storm outside.

Palm Beach County Animal Care Director Diane Sauve told local ABC affiliate WFTS, it appeared that the animals had been consciously abandoned outside. “They are left in a yard [or] in a pen they cannot escape from or tethered to trees or poles,” Sauve said, emphasizing how at risk pets abandoned outside during storms as potentially deadly as Hurricane Irma stands to be were. “Even a tiny bit of sand can hurt an animal when it’s traveling through 100-plus mile per hour winds.”


Spencer Platt/Getty Images News/Getty Images
But pet owners who left their animals in harms way may find there are severe consequences to their decision. While Palm Beach County has a law against leaving a dog unattended while it is chained or tethered, Florida officials have said the crime becomes felony animal cruelty when done under such potentially dangerous conditions. “This is a prime example of animal cruelty,” Florida State Attorney Dave Aronberg told CNN affiliate WPTV. “We will find you, and we will prosecute you.”

Sauve also claimed that local authorities would determine who’d abandoned their pets to the elements. “It’s unconscionable,” she told WPT of owners who left their pets outside ahead of the hurricane. “We will not stand for it here in Palm Beach County.”

I am glad that the local authorities are going to determine who abandoned their pets. Hopefully there will be a hefty price to pay!

Remember, your pets count!

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