We are going to hold accountable those who we can prove left their dogs behind in the storm“, Aronberg said.

Florida authorities are planning to press felony charges against those irresponsible and heartless pet owners who left their furry family members outside on their own while Hurricane Irma hit the state, the New York Post reports. Although Sauve said that it was already expected, the fact that so many owners are giving up their pets is still disheartening.

In Palm Beach County it is illegal to tether a dog if there is no one present.

The pets, who survived the epic Category 4 storm when it made landfall, will be flown to a no-kill shelter on the other side of the country in California. “We will find you, and we will prosecute you”, said Aronberg. Palm Beach County Animal Care organizers admitted, however, it can be hard to prosecute owners. The abandoned animals will be up for adoption in a few weeks. These numbers are the latest before Irma hit.

While animal control officers were able to save these animals, there are concerns that many more were inaccessible to rescuers and may have been injured in the storm.

State prosecutors and Animal Care and Control are working together to track the owners responsible by various means, including interviewing neighbors and checking pet microchips. As of Friday, Palm Beach County Animal Care had 100 dogs in their care. The FedEx flight will free up space for other lost pets needing rescue and shelter in South Florida.

“There is no excuse for this”, Sauve said. “We will not stand for it here in Palm Beach County”.

Florida residents fled their homes ahead of Hurricane Irma’s impending devastation, but dozens of evacuees chained their dogs to trees or parked cars outside before heading inland.