SPCA Charges Buffalo Woman with Animal Cruelty for Allegedly Leaving Dog in Hot Car

June 16, 2022
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

UPDATE 6/29/22 From the Office of Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn:  Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 37-year-old Shermika A. Walker of Buffalo was arraigned this morning before Cheektowaga Town Justice James J. Speyer, Jr. on one count of Overdriving, Torturing and Injuring Animals; Failure to Provide Proper Sustenance (Class “A” misdemeanor under New York Agriculture and Markets Law) and one count of Confinement of Companion Animals in Vehicles: Extreme Temperatures (violation under New York Agriculture and Markets Law). [See the full story, below.]  Walker is scheduled to return on Wednesday, July 13, 2022 at 9:30 a.m. for further proceedings. She was released on her own recognizance as the charges are non-qualifying offenses for bail.  If convicted of all charges, Walker faces a maximum sentence of one year in jail.

DA Flynn commends the Cheektowaga Police Department, Town of Cheektowaga Animal Control, SPCA Serving Erie County and SPCA Animal Cruelty Investigations Officer William Heine for their work in this investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Christine M. Garvey of the Animal Cruelty Unit.  As are all persons accused of a crime, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
–Kait Munro, Public Information Officer, Erie County District Attorney

The SPCA Serving Erie County has charged  Shermika Walker of Buffalo with one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty and one violation after she allegedly left a dog in a hot vehicle at the Airport Plaza in Cheektowaga Wednesday, June 15.

According to Accuweather.com, Cheektowaga temperatures reached 91 degrees Wednesday afternoon when Cheektowaga Police and Animal Control officers responded to a call regarding a dog left in a vehicle at the plaza. When officers arrived at the location, they reportedly found the dog inside of the vehicle in severe distress, seizing and vomiting.

The male dog, which appears to be a Boston Terrier, was removed from the vehicle and rushed by Cheektowaga Animal Control officers to the Greater Buffalo Veterinary Emergency Clinic on Genesee St. in Buffalo when SPCA officers were called to assist. The dog’s temperature surpassed 107 degrees and he exhibited other signs of severe heatstroke.

Clinic representatives provided emergency care to stabilize the dog, and he is now in the care of the SPCA Serving Erie County where he will receive additional treatment.

SPCA Animal Cruelty Investigations Officer William Heine opened an investigation and charged Walker this afternoon. She is set to be arraigned in Cheektowaga Town Justice Court June 29, 2022 at 8:30 a.m.

Further updates on this story will be provided when available.

The SPCA reminds community members that the effects of heatstroke can begin quickly in animals left alone in parked cars in the summer, even when cars are parked for short lengths of time in shade with windows open. Those who find animals left alone in cars during extreme temperatures are encouraged to call 9-1-1 or the SPCA Serving Erie County, (716) 875-7360, ext. 214, 8 a.m. – 6:45 p.m. seven days a week.

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