New Bill Will Make It Illegal To Abandon Your Pet In A Natural Disaster In Florida
Nearly every time America suffers a brutal natural disaster like a hurricane or massive flooding, stories emerge of dozens of poor animals being abandoned by their owners.
Well, a new bill has been proposed in Florida, a state that routinely gets hit by cyclones and hurricanes, that would hopefully end that abandonment.
Senate Bill 1738 will make it illegal for any pet owner to tie up or leave unattended their animal during disasters. If the National Weather Service has issued an evacuation notice to residents then that law would kick into effect.
Florida lawmaker Joe Gruters introduced the bill, which states that perpetrators could be fined up to $5,000 or serve a year behind bars.
"We want to give these dogs a fighting chance," Gruters said this week.
Two years ago, Florida was hit hard by Hurricane Irma, a category four storm which caused humungous amounts of damage. In the days after the hurricane, emergency services counted nearly 50 dogs which had been abandoned.
All of the animals were found outdoors and were trying to find safety or tied to poles.
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Animal Care and Control noted that there were 40 cats and dogs handed in before Irma made landfall. Making this decision is a tough one, but under Florida law, it's one that can't be reversed once the storm is over.
Finding new homes for their abandoned animals is also an incredibly difficult task.
In a statement, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said: "Moving that many animals is no easy task - each animal is examined by a veterinarian, behavior checks are performed, and since the animals are being transported out of state, health certificates are completed.
"Our relocation teams will identify shelters across the country that are in the position to help find these animals homes, and our teams will start moving them to their new destinations just as quickly as we possibly can."
While it didn't happen in Florida, people were shocked to see dogs left inside a cage during Hurricane Florence in North Carolina last year.
Thankfully, a team of rescuers were able to reach them, albeit clinging to the cage door, before the water got too high.
Once the chain-link fence is unlocked the dogs swim out whimpering, howling and scared. They then make it to safety in a nearby wooded area followed by the rescue volunteers.
Hopefully similar laws get enacted across the country to ensure animals don't become liabilities during natural disasters.
Featured Image Credit: PA