U.S. Assistant Attorney General Laurie Robinson presented the Animal Welfare Institute’s Albert Schweitzer Award to two assistant Wayne County prosecutors yesterday. Raj Prasad and Amy Slameka are in very good company: the Animal Welfare Institute says this is the first time it has honored members of this branch of law enforcement with the award. Past recipients include Jane Goodall and members of Congress.
To this day, Prasad and Slameka still get emotional when they reflect on one of the worst cases they have had to prosecute. A cell phone camera captured footage of a pit bull mix set alight with gasoline and lighter fluid, screaming as it tried to put itself out. Prasad and Slameka put the two offenders away in prison; one for 13 months to eight years, the other for 24 months to eight years. In addition to trying abuse cases, Prasad and Slameka work with lawmakers to improve dog-fighting laws.
The two have been amassing a list of accomplishments since they founded the Animal Protection Unit in 2008. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said she is proud to have an animal protection unit specifically dedicated to prosecuting animal abusers. “It is rewarding to see Amy and Raj receiving the Albert Schweitzer Award for helping our four-legged friends.”
Since its inception, the Animal Protection Unit has had a 98% conviction rate. Slameka said the unit can devote all of the resources and special attention necessary to try animal cases, “and hopefully seek stiffer penalties.”
“We take each case to heart. We take each case of animal abuse very seriously,” Slameka said. “We’re very passionate and compassionate about it.”