Pet owners facing charges for abandoning animals in Hurricane Irma

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Authorities in Palm Beach County, Florida are livid after they discovered dozens of dogs apparently left behind by their owners who evacuated in preparation for Hurricane Irma.

Animal Care and Control officers in Palm Beach County have found and rescued up to 40 dogs in the in the days before the storm made landfall.

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.

"They are left in a yard, in a pen they can not escape from or tethered to trees or poles", she said.

In Texas, several pets were left under similar circumstances, even after being told by the authorities not to leave animals behind prior to Hurricane Harvey.

"There is absolutely no excuse for doing that", agency Director Dianne Sauve said.

She said the agency will pursue felony animal cruelty charges if they are able to gather enough evidence and find the pet's owners.

The Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control is asking anyone who can to take in animals they see who were left out during the storm.

Suave explained that surrenders are normal during storms, but the number was particularly high in the lead up to Irma.

Willingly giving up your pet in Palm Beach County means you give up ownership and therefore can not get the pet back after the storm passes.

"It's always disappointing. Our goal is to keep pets and people together".

'I feel torn about that at times, ' Suave said to USA Today. Two cats were also rescued by the shelter.

Ms Sauve said that abandoning animals in this situation is unconscionable.

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