Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control reported that amid hasty evacuations to escape the destruction of Hurricane Irma, pet owners in the area reportedly left their animals chained or tied up outside and exposed to the dangerous weather. But those owners could now face felony charges, as both Animal Care and the State Attorney’s Office are teaming up to prosecute what it’s dubbed felony animal cruelty.

“This is a prime example of animal cruelty,” Dave Aronberg, the state prosecutor for Palm Beach County, said in a statement. “We will find you, and we will prosecute you.”

As NBC-affiliate WPTV reported last week, it is against the law to leave a dog chained up when its owner is not present. But that did not stop dozens of pet owners from leaving their animals behind in such conditions. More than 50 animals were found tied to trees in Florida county last week, ABC-affiliate WFTS reported Saturday.

“They are left in a yard, in a pen they cannot escape from or tethered to trees or poles,” Director of Animal Care Diane Sauve said last week. “Even a tiny bit of sand can hurt an animal when it’s traveling through 100-plus mph winds.”

Sauve and Aronberg assured the public that they will be prosecuting pet owners who abandoned their animals using paper trails available to the authorities, according to WFTS.

Friends of Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control posted about the incident on its Facebook page Sunday.

“Once Hurricane Irma passes that's when our work begins!” the post read. “As you know we had many dogs surrendered before the storm as well as people who left them tied to houses and cars, not to mention the ones that will come stray after the storm. In order to care for the pups who've been left behind, we need crates for foster homes and transports and collars for all! We appreciate your support!”

The page wrote that it was sending more than 200 animals to shelters throughout the northeast in order to create much-needed space for animals affected by Irma.

“Over the course of three days, 200 healthy, adoptable animals from our local shelters were flown to partner shelters in the northeast, where they will find loving homes,” the page wrote Friday in an update. “This opens up much needed kennel space locally for pets displaced or abandoned as a result of Hurricane Irma.”