For Immediate Release:
October 8, 2018
Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382
Tallahassee, Fla. – As Tropical Storm Michael approaches parts of Florida (including Pensacola, Panama City, and Tallahassee) and because a hurricane watch is in effect, animals could die if abandoned during any evacuations that may occur. A recent survey revealed that 91 percent of animal guardians are not prepared for a natural disaster.
Animals should never be left tied up, or confined in crates, pens or hutches, as they will be trapped and unable to flee rising waters. (Please click on the hyperlinks to see photos of dogs who were left outside during past storms.)
Anyone who evacuates and intentionally abandons their animals to drown or starve may be prosecuted. During Hurricane Irma, more than 50 cats and dogs were rescued from tethers by animal control officers in Palm Beach County, and authorities announced that they will pursue felony animal cruelty charges against anyone found to have left their animals behind to die in that state.
PETA rescue teams have witnessed firsthand the trauma that animals endure when left behind to face the floodwaters and flying debris of hurricanes, from Katrina to Harvey, during which PETA’s Animal Rescue Team pulled terrified and stranded animals from rooftops, balconies, floating mattresses, shelves, tops of cars, and more. One kitten clung for days to the top of an umbrella! The total number of animals who drowned because they had been left in crates or chained/penned in backyards is unknown.
PETA has released a hurricane-preparedness public service announcement. Make plans to ensure the safety of you animal companions long before evacuating. For more information, please visit PETA.org.