The landmark abuse case, which caught international attention and outraged animal welfare advocates, was a catalyst in bringing together key members of the Mayor's Office, Stray Rescue of St. Louis, the St. Louis Police Department, the Circuit Attorney's Office, and the Department of Health. The mission of the Mayor's Animal Cruelty Task Force is to create a safer St. Louis for both companion animals and city residents.
"The City has made huge strides when it comes to the humane treatment of animals, for instance, we are euthanizing fewer dogs," said Mayor Slay. "This is the next logical step. We will not tolerate the inhumane treatment of innocent creatures."
Stray Rescue of St. Louis, an independent companion animal rescue and shelter nonprofit has tenaciously led the way towards the creation of the task force. The rescue group plays a unique role in the city, responding to the vast majority of these alarming cases on a weekly basis and compiling key evidence to aid in prosecution. Stray Rescue has tapped Officer Lewis Naes to be St. Louis' first member of the department dedicated to investigating animal cruelty.
"This task force is without a doubt one of the most significant steps forward for St. Louis in the battle to end animal abuse," said Randy Grim, founder of Stray Rescue. "This is a forceful message to those who are cruel to animals – there will be serious consequences to your criminal actions."
Based on the experience of all involved and the progressive nature of the task force, Grim believes that St. Louis' program will soon serve as a model for the rest of the nation to follow.
"Stray Rescue and Mayor Slay have done an excellent job of bringing needed community awareness to the issue of animal abuse, and we're proud to be a part of the solution," said Circuit Attorney Jennifer M. Joyce. "When the community gets involved in aiding law enforcement in our efforts to hold offenders accountable for their crimes – against humans and animals – we are much more likely to achieve justice."