Pet owners who left their pets chained up and abandoned during Hurricane Irma may soon find themselves going from wading through floodwaters to wading through legal hot water, as they may be facing severe charges for their negligent behavior. At least 50 dogs were found chained to trees and cars when rescuers arrived on the scene after Irma made landfall.
Officers on the scene say they saved over 40 dogs in tow days alone. Many of these dogs were abandoned inside the home while others were found chained up with no hope of escape. There's absolutely no excuse for this behavior and it's encouraging to see authorities taking a serious stand against it.
No animal deserves to be chained up during a life-threatening storm, with no possible means of being able to escape to higher ground. In Florida, leaving dogs chained up without access to their owners is illegal and, considering the circumstances, owners found guilty of this behavior could be charged with felony animal abuse and state prosecutors are vowing to crack down hard on this monstrous behavior.
Animal shelters are also experiencing extreme overcrowding as a result of lost/abandoned pets. Many were brought in during the aftermath of the storm, but some were brought in pre-emptively by owners who knew they wouldn't be able to take care of them or properly evacuate them during the storm.
Dog owners are now being asked to seriously consider their actions. Simply put, if you can't properly evacuate/care for a pet during an emergency, then maybe having a pet is more responsibility than you should take on right now.