With Hurricane Irma barreling down on Florida, some dogs have been left chained to parked cars and trees, WPTV reports.
Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control has reportedly been flooded with calls from neighbors of the dog owners reporting the neglect.
Leaving dogs tied up without an owner present is illegal in Palm Beach County. And with the potentially deadly hurricane pummeling the Sunshine State, abandoning pets could amount to felony animal cruelty, the television station reports.
Animal Care and Control officials say they are working with the state attorney’s office to prosecute people who leave pets behind.
The agency has been getting calls about pets deserted in houses and in pens by owners who have fled Florida.
“They are left in a yard, in a pen they cannot escape from or tethered to trees or poles,” Diane Suave, director of Animal Care and Control, told WPTV.
Animal care workers are picking up the pets and taking them to the shelter, which already is getting full with more than 100 animals presently inside.
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Officers have rescued dozens of dogs and cats just within the last few days, the television station reports.
More than 42 dogs have been surrendered at the shelter because owners said they could not care for them as they sought to evacuate.
Animal Care and Control had been allowing anyone in Palm Beach County to foster an animal without being pre-approved, and adoption fees were being waived.
The agency also was seeking help from private shelters and rescue organizations in the area.
Officials expect they will need to make room for more animals displaced once the hurricane passes.
Feature photo: Associated Press