Animal Cruelty Unit

The Animal Cruelty Unit is responsible for the prosecution of all crimes committed against animals within Erie County.  These crimes include cruelty to animals, the neglect of pets, animal hoarding and the training and the fighting of dogs and other animals in organized animal fighting.

The prosecutor assigned to this unit, Justin T. Wallens, works closely with Erie County SPCA peace officers, city and town animal control officers, forensically trained veterinarians and experts in the study of animal fighting employed by the national organization, the ASPCA. 

These cases require special training and increased devotion of time because the vast majority of crimes committed against animals must be proven entirely through circumstantial evidence as the victims, the animals, cannot speak for themselves. The prosecution of these cases in a court of law requires specialized knowledge and expertise in order to educate the judge or jury regarding the meaning and understanding of the evidence presented.  

Courtesy: Erie County SPCA

One of this unit's success stories involves Susie, a 20-month-old Chihuahua beaten by a Buffalo man, who is now serving a six month prison sentence. Susie is on the mend and is now in the care of a loving foster family.