Tampa Bay sees uptick of animal abandonment calls after Hurricane Irma

Animal Control making rounds, checking on pets
Posted at 7:09 PM, Sep 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-15 19:09:42-04

Calls of animal abandonment are soaring throughout Tampa Bay. Some neighbors are posting examples to social media while others are urging the professionals to do something about it.

Former police officer turned animal rescuer, Corinn Smith, is walking the neighborhoods. She’s looking for any signs a pet has been left behind.

“I feel desperate to help these animals," she said.

She took a video of a dog tethered to a shed in St. Pete. She gave the animal food and water and immediately dialed Pinellas County Animal Control. Her call part of the 30 percent increase they’ve gotten in complaints of animal abandonment.

“These animals just don’t have to be out here suffering in this horrible heat with no food or water," she said, "It’s unacceptable and there’s no excuse for it.”

In the St. Pete case, an officer got a hold of the owners and deemed it not to be abandonment. However, the tethering is illegal in the county and many other parts of the bay.

ABC Action News showed Smith another similar video uploaded to Facebook. This time in Seminole Heights.

“It’s so needless, it’s so needless," she said.

She’s pleading with owners who may consider leaving pets behind. The next time a storm is in the forecast, she says, reach out to rescue groups.

“Heartless or they’re irresponsible," said Smith of these owners, "But we are not judging. We don’t ask questions. Whatever we can do, we want to help them.”

If you see a pet you suspect has been abandoned give your local animal control a call. The officer will contact the owner but if they think the animal is in any immediate danger, alongside police, they’ll pull them out to safety.

“There are people out there that are staying back that are rescuing these animals and we will work to the fullest extent of the law to find justice for these animals," she promised.