Authorities Consider Felony Charges After Pets Tied Up, Abandoned in Hurricane

Over 50 Animals Found Abandoned In West Palm Beach, Tied Up Outside As Irma Approaches

They also claim that families or individuals who left their pets to suffer imminent death prior to Irma will never again be allowed to have access to their rescued pets.

It's illegal in Palm Beach County to leave a dog tethered or chained up if you're not present, and during extreme weather conditions such as Hurricane Irma, it's felony animal cruelty. Many of them were left tied to poles or in outside pens, officials said to the New York Post.

Some of the animals which were rescued would have been unable to escape as the storm beared down, either being chained to trees or parked cars, locked in crates or trapped in yards.

Animal welfare officers faced a race against time trying to rescue over 50 pets before the high winds meant it was too unsafe to be on the road.

Calling the behavior "animal cruelty", officials said they have been able to rescue 49 dogs and two cats who were abandoned by their owners as Irma made its way to Florida.

Deputy Julie Bridges was picking up supplies for a hurricane shelter when her patrol auto crashed head-on into a vehicle driven by FDOT Sgt. Joseph Ossman, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post.

'I feel torn about that at times, ' Suave said to USA Today. "We will find you, and we will prosecute you".

"Even a tiny bit of sand can hurt an animal when it's traveling through 100-plus miles per hour winds", Sauve said.

"It's unconscionable", she said.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office posted on social media that two on-duty LEO's were involved in a head-on collision during the storm.

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