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Falls police arrested a 72nd Street man Tuesday night after getting calls that the dog he was walking appeared to be in distress.

A woman told police she was at a convenience store at 81st and Niagara Falls Boulevard about 9:45 p.m. when she saw a man walking a dog that appeared extremely skinny and in distress. The woman said she was concerned for the animal and began following the man walking it, asking if the dog was ok and if it had been fed recently. She told him it looked like the dog needed medical attention. He replied, the “dog was fine and well fed and he needed to go.”

The woman told police she and a male companion again stopped the man walking the dog on the 300 block of 72nd Street and told him they were calling the police to perform an animal welfare check. The woman waited in her car with the dog and gave it water.

Officers arrived to find the dog’s owner sitting on the ground as the couple stood by. Police said the small mix breed dog appeared emaciated and exhausted. The owner, identified as Gregory M. Slusser, 45, 302 72nd St., said the dog was well fed and just had a high metabolism.

Animal Control Officer Dave Bower responded to the scene and eventually took the dog to the Niagara County SPCA after Slusser signed a release form.

Slusser was then transported to police headquarters where he was charged with animal cruelty and released.

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