Mayor Francis Slay, Stray Rescue founder Randy Grim, Police Chief Dan Isom, Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, and other City officials today announced the creation of a formalized alliance to combat and prevent animal abuse in the City of St. Louis. The mission of the Mayor's Animal Cruelty Task Force, the first of its kind in the City's history, is to create a safer St. Louis for both companion animals and City residents. Its mission will be to rigorously enforce animal abuse/neglect laws and city ordinances, to enlist the help of neighbors who see abuse, and to raise awareness of animal cruelty and what can be done to prevent it.
"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."
The Task Force will coordinate efforts and improve communication among the Mayor's Office, Stray Rescue of St. Louis, the Department of Health, the Circuit Attorney's Office, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, Alderwoman Dionne Flowers, and the Municipal Courts. The goals of the task force are to encourage citizens to report animal abuse, to increase convictions, to reduce criminal activity to make neighborhoods safer, to act as a firm, unified voice against animal cruelty, and to deter abusive behavior in the first place.
"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."
"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."
One of the most important aspects of the task force comes from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
It will dedicate one full time officer to ensure that animal abuse cases are prioritized, and handled quickly and professionally.
In addition, the City is creating a special docket in the Municipal Courts.
Stray Rescue is creating a class that judges can use at sentencing to educate people who are found guilty in municipal court. Stray Rescue and the Department of Health are developing a public information campaign to raise awareness.
"I look forward to working with the Department of Health and Stray Rescue to catch and arrest the City's dangerous animal abusers," said Police Chief Dan Isom. "I think this partnership can help to improve the public safety of the people in our neighborhoods."
The Animal Cruelty Task Force will start operation immediately.