More than 50 animals found tethered to trees in Florida county

(CNN / WPTV) – Officials are calling it animal cruelty in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Dozens of dogs, and a few cats were abandoned by their owners as Hurricane Irma approached. County animal control officers have been rushing to pick up animals left behind over the last couple of days.

Diane Suave, director of Palm Beach Co. Animal Care: “49 dogs and two cats, and that’s just the ones that we were able to locate.”

Reporter question: “And we’re not talking about abandoned inside their home, can you tell me what you’re seeing, how are you recognizing this?”

“Owners had gone, and they were left either in pens, or in yards that they would not be able to get out of, or tethered or chained,” said Suave.

With storm winds picking up early Saturday afternoon, animal control officers were pulled off the streets.

The county’s animal control director and state attorney say they’ll prosecute people who’ve left animals outside.

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