More than 50 animals were found tethered to trees in Florida to face Hurricane Irma alone in what officials are calling a horrifying act of animal cruelty.
Animal control officers found abandoned pets just north of Miami in Palm Beach County.
Director of Animal Care Diane Sauve mentioned that these animals were not simply just left inside by their owners. “They are left in a yard, in a pen they cannot escape from or tethered to trees or poles,” she said.
Before the hurricane made landfall in Florida, animal control officers managed to rescue 49 dogs and two cats.
State Attorney General Dave Aronberg joined with Sauve to promise that anyone who left their animals outside to face Hurricane Irma will face criminal charges. “This is a prime example of animal cruelty,” Aronberg said. “We will find you, and we will prosecute you.”
Sauve added to his comments by saying that all available resources will be used to track down those who are believed to have engaged in animal cruelty.
“It’s unconscionable,” she said. “We will not stand for it here in Palm Beach County.”
Palm Beach County is one of 67 counties in Florida and one of only nine that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Hurricane Irma strengthened back into a Category 4 hurricane late on Saturday, before it hit Florida, but then dropped down to a Category 2 hurricane by Sunday evening as it made its way west toward Tampa.
As of Sunday, 3.5 million Floridians were without power and officials confirmed at least five deaths.