St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay is creating a task force aimed at reducing animal cruelty in the city.
Slay announced the creations of the “Mayor Francis Slay Animal Cruelty Task Force” during a press conference at Stray Rescue on Tuesday.
Among other things, the city police department will dedicate one full-time officer to animal abuse cases.
Slay says the task force sends a message that cases of animal neglect and cruelty will be prosecuted just as thoroughly as any other crime.
“People that report these will now know that there’s a system in place that they can report it and the report will be taken very seriously,” Slay said. “And hopefully lead to an arrest and some kind of conviction.”
The recent high-profile case of Darick Stallworth, who pleaded guilty last month to torturing and killing five dogs inside a vacant building, is an extreme example of the kind of crime the new task force will address.
The police department says the task force officer will work closely with Stray Rescue and the Humane Society to follow up on tips and investigate cases.
Randy Grim, the founder of Stray Rescue called the announcement a “dream come true."
“The St. Louis landscape will start changing,” Grim said during the press conference. “Not only can we be a pet-friendly city, but I think now we can look forward to being one of the most humane cities in the nation.”
Grim noted that people who commit crimes against animals usually commit crimes against people as well.
A special docket for animal cruelty cases will also be created in the municipal court system.
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