Rescued Lakeland dogs a snapshot of pets abandoned during Hurricane Irma

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – Their rescue captured the hearts of many of our viewers. Five dogs were stranded in rising floodwaters Monday on Walker Road in Lakeland.  

According to neighbors they were abandoned by their owners during Hurricane Irma.

News Channel 8 was the only station to capture their rescue on camera.

Viewers have reached out, wondering what happened to the dogs and if their owners will be charged.

All five dogs are now safe at Polk County Animal Control.

They have been checked out by a veterinarian and given a clean bill of health.

“These owners are welcome to come and get their pets,” Polk County Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson Carrie Horstman told News Channel 8. “There is an ongoing investigation just to make sure that the animals are healthy, preliminarily they do look healthy.”

But, according to Horstman, the owners have not shown up and Animal Control can’t get ahold of them.

News Channel 8 went back to the home Friday. The notices from Animal Control were gone but no one answered the door.

When asked about other Florida counties charging pet owners for abandonment during the hurricane, she was unsure if PCSO would follow that lead. “That’s another possibility. We have to be able to prove that. We have to be able to prove that they abandoned these animals without access to food, water, and shelter,” she said.

Sadly it’s a scenario playing out all over the bay area.

SPCA Florida rescued Molly, a pitbull used only for breeding. According to Executive Director Adam Stanfield, the owners took her puppies, but she was left tied up, to fend for herself.

“It was just her. No shelter, nothing,” Stanfield said.

So far SPCA Florida has rescued seven animals that were abandoned during Irma.

“Irmo, which is our only cat so far, Lizzie, Molly, Henry, Charlie, Brandy and King,” Stanfield named off the rescued pets. “I’m just appalled that people would do this to their pets.”

To make room, SPCA Florida is holding a free adoption event over the weekend for most animals. Click here for more:

As for the five dogs at Animal Control, News Channel 8 will keep monitoring their situation, and let you know if they become available for adoption.


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