Erie County District Attorney John Flynn met with leaders from the SPCA Serving Erie County Wednesday. Flynn took a tour of the facility, as his office has seen a growing number of animal cruelty cases.
"We take these cases very seriously. Having them know they can call us and talk to us helps us investigate more cases," Flynn, (D) said.
The state DA's Association recently established an animal cruelty subcommittee. Flynn has appointed an assistant DA to serve on it, and work with the shelter.
"Build that relationship up so we can do what we're both here to do. And that is to protect animals," said Flynn.
"Although it seems like it's on the upsurge, it's actually, what's happening is that we're seeing and hearing more and more of it because of social media. And people are sharing more information than ever before," said Gina Browning, SPCA Serving Erie County chief communications officer.
SPCA leaders also discussed animal cruelty with Flynn and say he shares their zero tolerance.
"We feel really good about that. To have a DA that cares that much to work with us on this level, it means a great deal," said Browning.
The meeting comes after Charlie the dog, who was recently found in a garbage tote, was put down Saturday because of his deteriorating health, behavior and high anxiety.
Flynn continues to investigate the case, as the shelter and community struggle to come to terms with the decision.
"Because people fell in love with him. Having made any other decision, we would have been tip-toeing in that inhumane area. Being a humane society and calling ourselves that and meaning it, is something we take very seriously," said Browning.
"It's an awful case. We are trying to track down all the leads that we have but as of this time right now, you know, we still don't know what happened to Charlie," said Flynn.
Anyone with information is asked to call the shelter or the Erie County DA's Office.