photo of cat struggling to swim to dry ground during flooding event Harvey

Abandonment – Animals Left Behind During Disasters Like Harvey or From Lack of Compassion

J. Lee

Abandonment – Animals Left Behind During Disasters

Sadly many people leave their animals behind. When a disaster occurs many pet owners probably have no idea how bad a flood, natural disaster or wildfire could get or how long they will be kept away.

Evacuations become frantic. Many compassionate owners leave them behind until a rescue can be safely organized. Some are not allowed to bring them so they do their best to leave them in the safest locations possible until they could be rescued.

Some just callously chain their pets and left them behind with no way to fend for themselves. Some leave them behind in apartments, houses or in their backyards with no hope of survival unless discovered. I hope justice will be swift for them. Courts need to throw the book at them with steepest penalties possible.

Many have been rescued, but how many will not be so lucky?


Photos of Abandoned Dogs in Hurricane Harvey Are Breaking the World’s Heart – Animal abuse in Texas will be met with harsher punishment starting in September. A law was passed that will hold abusers accountable for up to a decade in prison if found guilty. That means that if the Texans that chained their animals up in Hurricane Harvey are found, they could fall under this law and spend ten years in prison.

Victoria, Texas – Two rescued dogs, Photo #1 Dog tied up at a mobile home park #2 Dog chained to a telephone pole. Photo #3 Two cats



According to the American Humane Association, “some 15 million dogs were in the storm’s path.” Cats would fare no better, especially those living outdoors or those who are feral (wild).

Wildlife was in jeopardy too. Vulnerable wildlife, birds and fish were also at risk.

Video: Hurricane Sandy: The HSUS’s Animal Rescue Team – “HSUS’s CEO and President, Wayne Pacelle, joins the Animal Rescue Team in New Jersey, trying to provide relief to people and animals in one area within the larger Hurricane Sandy impact zone.”

Video: Hurricane Sandy: New York Relief Efforts“More than 30 staff and volunteers with The Humane Society of the United States are working to help pets impacted by Superstorm Sandy in New Jersey and New York. Responders are conducting damage assessments and search and rescues for animals left behind or stranded because of the storm, and they are caring for more than 100 animals at two emergency shelters.”

Hurricane Sandy’s Impact on Fish and Wildlife “Human impact is the main concern for so many but, what  happens to fish and wildlife during such major storms?”


Unlike Harvey, domestic animals during Katrina were not welcomed as part of the rescue effort. Owner were forced to abandon their pets. Sadly approximately a quarter of a million pets died after being left behind by their owners who could not take them.  Animals during that disaster paved the way for future rescue efforts as seen with Sandy and Harvey. After Katrina Congress passed the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act. 

Wikipedia: The Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act (PETS) was a bi-partisan initiative in the United States House of Representatives to require states seeking Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance to accommodate pets and service animals in their plans for evacuating residents facing disasters.


In the path of raging wildfires no domestic pet, livestock and wildlife is safe.

Many pet owners and those with livestock probably have no idea how bad a fire could get or how long they would be kept away.

Livestock could consist of horses, cattle, donkeys, llamas, sheep, lambs, goats, pigs and emu’s. Livestock is not easy to transport at a moment’s notice. Due to their size and herd numbers most need to be left behind until rescue efforts can be organized.



The cruelest abandonment is done by those who move and leave their pets behind to fend for themselves. When they are no longer wanted they are callously left behind. Some are let go such as snakes and birds.

As for those who deliberately abandoned animals or confined them such as by tying them up with no way to fend for themselves I hope they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

KRON 4 (Sep 19, 2014) Dogs Found Malnourished, Abandoned by Evicted Owner

Daily Mail: Police discover an abandoned horse float packed with dehydrated farm animals – including sheep, rabbits, duck and geeseA collection of farm animals were found abandoned in Western Australia”


Not all abandonment’s are planned nor is cruelty carried out. Some pet owners are forced to flee on a moments notice. They do their best to keep their animals safe until rescue can be arranged. Their hope is their pets and livestock will remain safe in the midst of disaster.

Sadly there are those who have no heart. They leave animals behind to fend for themselves. Those are the worst kind who give mankind a bad name.

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