Perhaps you’ve read the stories about all of the animals that rescue workers have found crated and tied in flooded areas after our most recent hurricanes.
Sometimes the rescue workers have found them before the flood waters got too deep. But, far too often, they were too late.
Many of us have said as we read the stories with mounting horror that “someone should do something.”
Well, someone is! Florida police are now going to hold accountable those who left their pets behind during Hurricane Irma.
Owners who left their dogs or cats behind to fend for themselves could face criminal charges for their heartless actions.
A large number of abandoned pets were found in Palm Beach County, Florida, despite warnings from the Florida Department of Health, which urged residents not to tie up their pets when evacuating homes.
Moments later “ProudMom @CherylIP30715825” tweeted the obvious reply. “So sad a message such as this has to be sent out!!”
We agree. It should just be second nature to want to do their very best for the animals we have accepted the responsibility to care for.
Yet, news stories were filled with pictures of animals sitting in crates on front porches, tied to fences and trees, Those left in houses probably had the best chance of survival, especially if there was a second floor. But, we never know what is going to happen.
Animal Care and Control (ACC) officers in Palm Beach County found and rescued over 40 dogs during the days before the storm hit the land.
BEFORE the storm hit land. During the time when there was still time for their owners to do the right thing.
“There is absolutely no excuse for doing that,” agency Director Dianne Sauve told the New York Post.
Both Sauve and Dave Aronberg, the state prosecutor for Palm Beach County promised to crack down on cruel pet owners.
“This is a prime example of animal cruelty,” Aronberg said. “We will find you, and we will prosecute you.”
Besides the 40 abandoned animals that they rescued before the storm hit, there were the ones that people turned in to ACC before they evacuated.
While turn-ins are always more common during storms, the number of surrenders was higher in the days leading up to Irma.
“These are things that are not unexpected during a situation like this,” Sauve said to USA Today, adding there are two pet-friendly shelters in Palm Beach County so there is no need to give away your pet. “It’s always disappointing. Our goal is to keep pets and people together.”
If a shelter receives FEMA assistance, it must provide sanctuary for pets along with people. Most shelters will accept pets that come with their own crate, as those pictured below.
Willingly giving up your pet ito a city or county shelter means you give up ownership and therefore cannot get the pet back after the storm passes.
“I feel torn about that at times,” Suave said, “but we’re not a boarding facility.”
If an animal is turned in at a shelter that becomes grossly overcrowded with no chance for adoption or rescue, there is always the possibility that the pet will have to be euthanized. Despite the fact that no one wants to be the one to have to do it. What else could they do?
If no one is willing to foster or adopt the animals, they have to be somewhere. There is only so much literal space, food, and hands-on staff and volunteers. Leaving your pet at a shelter that may not be able to provide the help they need is just as cruel as leaving it to fend for itself against the wrath of Mother Nature.
In short, Florida police are doing the right thing by holding those accountable for abandoning their pets before a hurricane. If these people are unable to care for their pets during a crisis, then they should have taken the pet in the first place. Now, the responsibility is on the police and shelters to care for these poor animals, and hopefully find forever families that will care for these sweet pets through thick and thin.
Source: NTD TV