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DA's office creates unit to fight animal abuse

Posted at 5:50 PM, Jul 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-24 07:12:14-04

The Erie County District Attorney's Office is working closely with the SPCA to go after anyone who abuses of animals.

Acting Erie County District Attorney Michael Flaherty has created the office's first animal cruelty unit, which focuses on solving cases involving animal abuse.

"When it comes to animal cruelty, people who are willing to hurt defenseless animals are often the ones that will hurt defenseless people," said Flaherty. 

The SPCA says hundreds of animals are harmed by humans in Erie County every year, which is one of the reasons it is joining forces with the Erie County District Attorney's Office.

"It's refreshing to know that when we're in on these cases, we're not alone," said Gina Browning, Director of Public Relations for the SPCA. "We have somebody backing us up."

This unit comes after two dogs, including Diamond, a Doberman Pinscher, were rescued by the SPCA in the past year, needing medical care.

"Owners knew better and still chose to cause harm to an animal," said Gary Willoughby, serving Erie County Executive Director for the SPCA. "That animal that counted on them for food and shelter, and a loving home."

Since then, Diamond has found a new home, and a court has convicted the people who hurt her of animal cruelty.

"We're working towards violence against animals and what we're also doing is working on violence towards people," said Browning.

This new program comes with no extra costs to taxpayers. To report something to the SPCA, click here