April 20, 2016
By: SPCA Director of Public Relations Gina Browning

UPDATE, July 6, 2016: Yesterday in front of Hon. Debra Givens, Santiago Morales pled guilty to Class A misdemeanor animal cruelty in Buffalo City Court. Part of his sentence includes six months imprisonment and a 5-year "No Animal" order. "I'm happy the judge recognized this as a true animal cruelty case," says SPCA Officer Vitello. "Often, animal beating cases are among the hardest to prove. Thankfully, the judge carefully and seriously considered the evidence presented." Susie is still recovering in her foster home.

SPCA Serving Erie County Animal Cruelty Investigator and NYS Peace Officer Christina Vitello has charged Santiago Morales of Buffalo with felony aggravated animal cruelty. Update July, 2016: These charges were later changed by the DA's office to misdemeanor cruelty charges

Morales is accused of beating a small, five pound dog (see photo, left, from April 11) belonging to an acquaintance, causing extreme suffering and injury, on Sunday, April 10.

The family sought veterinary care for the Chihuahua mix, a female thought to be approximately 20 months old, and surrendered the dog on Monday, April 11. At that time, the dog was transferred to the SPCA for on-site treatment.

The dog, Susie, was limping on three legs, had bloody eyes, and was bruised in several areas including her face.

Her examination showed several injuries which included, but were not limited to, multiple fractures to her pelvis area, visible bruising throughout her body, including her eyes, ears, neck, mouth, face, chin, chest, abdomen, and hips. There was swelling in areas including her head and mouth.

Susie is on pain medications and was wearing a pain patch; she is being syringe-fed. She’s currently in stable condition and will be under the care of the SPCA at an off-site location. See Susie's video here.

Morales is scheduled to report to Buffalo City Court Monday, May 23, 9:30 am. If found guilty of felony animal cruelty, Morales could face a maximum of two years in prison. Keep watching YourSPCA.org for continuing information on this case.


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Those who witness a situation that might constitute
cruelty and/or violence toward animals in Erie County,
including animals left outdoors with inappropriate
shelter in yards, are encouraged to report the
circumstances to the SPCA Serving Erie County:
716-875-7360 or cruelty@yourspca.org.