Hurricane Irma Dogs Abandoned As Families Evacuated

As Hurricane Irma prepared to slam into the entire state of Florida over the weekend, one-third of residents were told to evacuate.  With the scary size of the storm, most heeded the warning, but sadly many dogs were left behind.  Palm Beach Country alone rescued almost 50 dogs in the days leading up to Hurricane Irma.  Many were left tied up and unable to escape.  Can you imagine how scared they must have been?  Authorities may pursue felony charges if the owners are identified.  We saw the same thing happen with Hurricane Harvey in Texas.

Some families simply surrendered their dogs to the counties before the storm.  This is also not a good option as by giving up ownership of your pet to a shelter, you cannot get them back after the storm and it will make it more difficult to adopt a pet in the future.

Some of the sad stories of Hurricane Irma dogs are of families who kept their pets with them but who escaped before or after the storm.  Remember that dogs feel the change in pressure and tend to be nervous around the time of a hurricane and may act differently.

During hurricane season it is important to have your evacuation plan ready, including for your pets.  In the footer of our website, enter your email and we’ll send your our guide to planning for your dog’s health and safety during a hurricane.  Your plan may include knowing which shelters are pet friendly, or booking early at a pet friendly hotel.  The Hyatt in Orlando hosted 900 Hurricane Irma dogs who evacuated from the path of the storm with their owners.  BringFido.com is a great resource.

What can you do to help the Hurricane Irma dogs?

  • Best Friends Animal Society is helping to reunite dogs with their families, coordinate foster care and emergency supplies.
  • The ASPCA mounted a relief effort to move animals out of the path of Hurricane Irma and rescue them afterwards.