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Hurricane Irma devastation: Animals left homeless after owners forced to flee killer storm

PETS have been left starving and homeless after their owners were forced to flee Hurricane Irma, which killed at least 80 people after it devastated the Caribbean and the southern states of Florida and Georgia in the US last week.

GETTY/TWITTER/@TTrogdon

Hurricane Irma: have been left starving and homeless after their owners were forced to flee

Hundreds of thousand of people were evacuated from the regions hit by the then-category 5 hurricane – including Anguilla, Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, St Barts, St Martin, Cuba and the US.

Among the rubble, animals left behind in the aftermath have been pictured taking shelter as they wait for their owners to return.

Aid and animal rescue volunteers have been desperately trying to provide food, shelter and medical care to dogs, cats, horses and goats left behind when winds of up to 185mph decimated the region.

In Florida, animals had to be rescued from rising floods, where tragically they had been tied up or fenced in.

Animal control officers said they found at least 49 abandoned dogs and two cats in storm-ravaged Palm County despite an earlier warning to owners not to leave their pets behind when evacuating.

Dianne Sauve, director of Palm County Animal Care and Control said: “There is absolutely no excuse for doing that.”

She added there were two pet-friendly shelters in the county that owners could have gone to with their animals.

Ms Sauve also warned that she along with state prosecutor Dave Aronberg will be pursuing animal felony charges against the owners of the abandoned pets.

There is absolutely no excuse

Dianne Sauve

Mr Aronberg said: “This is a prime example of animal cruelty. We will find you, and we will prosecute you.”

Taylor Trogdon, a senior scientist with the NOAA National Hurricane Center’s Storm Surge Unit, has shared several images and video of kittens he is caring for after Hurricane Irma on social media.

Sharing a picture of the kittens Mr Trogdon tweeted: “So this happened - Irma rescue kittens. Six in total. Fostering [them] for a few weeks then probably keeping two. Felt it in my heart, so here we are.”

Meanwhile, Mark Raab, a digital marketing consultant, is one of a handful of volunteers helping feed island on the stricken island of Barbuda.

So this happened - Irma rescue kittens. 6 in total. Fostering for a few weeks then probably keeping two. Felt it in my heart, so here we are pic.twitter.com/nI6bmqbmPb

— Taylor Trogdon (@TTrogdon) September 13, 2017

Mr Raab, 38, told MailOnline he had taken his boat over, loaded with pet supplies donated by animal lovers in Antigua.

The news comes as the Royal Navy’s flagship HMS Ocean was deployed to the region loaded with long term-emergency supplies to help British territories ravage by the hurricane. 

The ship left Gibraltar stacked with more than "200 pallets of aid" including items like timber, buckets, bottled water, food, baby milk, bedding and clothing.

Among the cargo were 10 pickup trucks, £6,500 worth of building materials and £20,000 worth of hardware donated by the Gibraltar government and businesses in the territory.

Yesterday, Theresa May pledged an extra £25million in relief funding to the affected territories in addition to the £32million she committed earlier.

Boris Johnson arrived in the Caribbean on Tuesday as nearly 1,000 British marines and 47 police officers were sent to restore “law and order” after around 100 prisoners broke out of a storm-damaged jail on the British Virgin Islands.

Hurricane Irma battered the British Virgin Islands, which suffered the full brunt of the storm as its eye passed through the Caribbean.

The islands’ Governor Gus Jaspert was forced to declare a state of emergency after the storm decimated buildings and reports of fatalities emerged.

In a radio message to the locals, Mr Jaspert said: "I come to you with a heavy heart after experiencing and observing the extent of devastation caused by Hurricane Irma.

"I have declared a state of emergency for the territory. All of us have been affected by Irma and some more than others. Apart from the structural damage. There have sadly been reports of casualties and fatalities.”

At least 80 people were killed by Hurricane Irma after it ravaged through the Caribbean and the southern states of Florida and Georgia in the US.

Among the dead five people on the Virgin Islands and four more on neighbouring British territory Anguilla.

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