A Buffalo woman has been arraigned on animal cruelty charges for an incident that happened in Cheektowaga. Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announced that the 37-year-old woman was arraigned on the morning of Wednesday, June 29, 2022, before Cheektowaga Town Justice James J. Speyer, Jr. on the following charges:

- One count of Overdriving, Torturing and Injuring Animals
- Failure to Provide Proper Sustenance (Class “A” misdemeanor under New York Agriculture and Markets Law)
- One count of Confinement of Companion Animals in Vehicles: Extreme Temperatures (violation under New York Agriculture and Markets Law).

Shermika A. Walker allegedly left her dog inside a parked car at a plaza on Union Road. Cheektowaga Police and Cheektowaga Animal Control officers responded to an emergency call about the animal on Wednesday, June 15, 2022. Officers say the dog was in severe distress inside the vehicle.

The dog was allegedly seizing and vomiting due to the heat inside of the vehicle.

The dog, an 8-year-old Boston Terrier mix, was transported to the Great Buffalo Veterinary Emergency Clinic on Genesee Street. The dog allegedly showed signs of severe heatstroke. The SPCA Serving Erie County is currently caring for the dog.

Walker is due back in court on Wednesday, July 13, 2022, at 9:30 am. She is facing up to one year in jail if convicted of all three charges. She was released on her own recognizance.

*** All persons are presumed innocent until convicted of a crime in a court of law

Can You Legally Break A Car Window To Save A Dog In New York State?

If you see a dog in a car that is not running and it's hot, can you save the animal by breaking a window? According to The Humane Society of The United States,

Leaving pets locked in cars is never safe. But when the weather gets warmer, it can be deadly. High temperatures can cause irreparable organ damage and even death. Protecting animals from an unnecessary death is a problem we can all agree to prevent.

Here's what New York State law says,

Confinement of companion animals in vehicles: extreme temperatures. 1. A person shall not confine a companion animal in a motor vehicle in extreme heat or cold without proper ventilation or other protection from such extreme temperatures where such confinement places the companion animal in imminent danger of death or serious physical injury due to exposure to such extreme heat or cold.


Are You Legally Allowed To Save An Animal By Breaking A Vehicle Window?

The answer is no. But you can contact someone who can. While it is illegal to leave an animal in a vehicle unattended in extremely hot summer weather, only certain people can actually break a car window to rescue the animal.

Where the operator of such a vehicle cannot be promptly located, a police officer, peace officer, peace officer acting as an agent of a duly incorporated humane society, emergency medical services personnel, paid firefighter, or volunteer firefighter who in the performance of such volunteer firefighter's duties are directed to respond to a call for assistance for such animal may take necessary steps to remove the animal or animals from the vehicle.

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Registered Animal Abusers In WNY

Did You Know That This Is New York's Official Dog?

New York's official state dog, which was adopted in 2015, isn't a specific breed, but rather an occupation according to the law,

"The working dog shall be the official dog of the
state. For the purposes of this section, 'working dog' shall mean (see specific professions below):"

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