Dozens of dogs abandoned or left chained to trees ahead of Hurricane Irma


With so many solutions available and so many foster families and shelters accepting pets during Hurricane Irma, it is tragic that Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control reports they’ve received dozens of calls about dogs left chained to trees, parked cars or surrendered to the shelter because their families don’t want the responsibility of caring for them anymore.

According to Friends of Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control Facebook, a plea went out to the community for short term foster help:

“40+ people have already surrendered their dogs to the shelter because they can’t or won’t care for them during the storm. This makes a lot of work for our staff and less room for the great adoptable dogs we already have in our program. We’ll find a match that works for you! They are medium and large dogs. You can return them as soon as the shelter is back to normal operations. Frustrating but workable if we come together!”

Fortunately the community of Palm Beach County came to the rescue.  Still, it is illegal in Palm Beach County to leave a dog tethered or chained when owners are not present. According to Animal Care and Control, owners who have abandoned their pets under these conditions as Hurricane Irma approaches, will be charged with felony animal cruelty. The dogs have beenrescued and brought back to the shelter where foster parents are waiting. There is no excuse for abandoning any pets.

“We are ready to go here at the Pet Friendly Shelter! Doors have just opened and we will be receiving pet owners and their pets so they have a safe place to stay for the duration of the hurricane. We’re located at 6000 Northtree Blvd, Lake Worth, FL,” announced the shelter. “Please note, only one person per family will be able to stay with their pets. The remaining family members will shelter next door at the Park Vista High School.”

And to make these trying times less stressful, people need not pre-register; walk-ins are welcome.

“We also have a list of pet friendly hotels and boarding facilities in Palm Beach County. If you plan to stay with us, please bring the following items for you and your family:

Sleeping bag or similar bedding for you to sleep on (there are no cots or air mattresses available). Change of clothes, personal hygiene items (we do not have a shower on site), any necessary medications (we do not have a refrigerator), books or other entertainment for yourself.

Please bring the following items for your pet:

Dogs – must be on a leash with a properly fitted collar. If you have a crate or kennel for your dog, please bring it.
Cats – must be in a carrier. You are welcome to bring a slightly larger crate or kennel for your cat to stay in while they are here.

Bring pet food, any necessary medications, bedding for your dog or cat to lay on and a towel to dry them off if needed.

We have meals and bottled water for people during their stay and our staff is here to help in any way we can.

If you have questions, please message us or you can call 561-355-1125.”

Volunteers  are always needed to help the more than “86 dogs over 30 lbs, 5 puppies, 57 adult cats, and 28 kittens in our adoption program who are ready to go. Moving them out will open up space for the owner surrenders coming in or the many displaced and stray animals we will be receiving after the storm.”

Photo of dogs left chained to trees via Friends of Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control.