Imagine being trapped inside a burning building with nowhere else to go. Well for the pets of owners who left them tied up and abandoned to brace a Category 4 hurricane alone, this is exactly how they felt.
According to Metro News, Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control stated that nearly 50 dogs had to be rescued in Palm Beach County alone.
On Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, at 11:00 a.m., Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League hosted a TrapNeuter-Vaccinate-Return Trapping class.
During this class, led by TNVR Coordinator Paul Bates, participants learned about the proper way to trap cats. Cat trapping is when cats are humanely taken to a veterinarian to be neutered and vaccinated to prevent the overpopulation of felines to neighboring communities.
Bates, while passionate about trapping, also expressed his outrage about the abundance of animals that were abandoned during the storm.
Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League is a non-profit organization that serves Palm Beach
County in providing shelter to lost, homeless and unwanted animals.
Unfortunately, tragedy was about to strike Palm Beach County as Hurricane Irma was dangerously close to making landfall.
"We got almost 400 animals out of Palm Beach County," Bates said. The shelter was able to transport animals out of Palm Beach by planes donated by FedEx. "We were facilitating the flying out of animals that were already in the shelters before the hurricane to make room for what we expected to come in," Bates said.
Most animals were being taken care of at the shelter in preparation for the storm, but others were not so lucky.
Due to Hurricane Irma, animals were abandoned by their owners in a time of need, in a crisis. They were left tied up outside or left inside a cage to fend for themselves.
Some owners deliberately abandoned their animals, leaving them tied up or locked up by themselves, not caring much what became of them, their main concern being themselves.
Those, not able to bring their pets with them tried to find a place to bring their pets to. Such as a variety of animal shelters, but found that the shelters were full, leaving them with no choice but to leave their pet behind.
No matter the issue, tying up a pet outside is illegal in the region. "Here in South Florida it is totally out of the question, you're not allowed to tie up a dog anytime," Bates said.
According to Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control Ordinance section 4-24 subsection D, "No person shall tether an animal to a stationary or inanimate object as a means of confinement or restraint unless such person is with the animal and the animal is at all times visible to such person." Add on the extensive danger of the storm to this act, and now it is considered as a felony
Animal lover Vera Bradoba, in response to this stated: "I think if people flee a natural disaster and leave their pets tied or trapped inside the home ought to be prosecuted, but if the person is desperate and lets the pet go and the pet knows the neighborhood, I wouldn't feel so strongly about that."
Either way, abandoning an animal because of a storm doesn't make it justifiable.
"If the animal can't get away it's kind of like leaving your cow in a burning barn," Bradoba said.
The shelter emphasized that abandoning an animal is never okay, no matter what the circumstance.
"I hope it's a good lesson to people not just after a disaster, but at any time, when you get tired of a pet, don't think you can leave it abandoned," Bates said.
Peggy Adams Animal Rescue made sure that even in the wake of a storm, they did everything they could for the animals. "Our goal was to empty the shelter out as much as possible," Bates said.
The shelter, is now continuing to help the animals affected by the storm by holding a free county wide adopt day; in hope that they can be sent to new loving homes.