Animal Law Section Members Receive National Albert Schweitzer Award
The State Bar of Michigan Animal Law Section congratulates two of its members, Raj Prasad and Amy Slameka, for receiving the Animal Welfare Institute's Albert Schweitzer Award.
U.S. Assistant Attorney General Laurie Robinson presented the awards to Prasad and Slameka, as well as Virginia Assistant Attorney General Michelle Welch, on November 14 at The Hill Center in Washington, D.C., for aggressively pursuing animal cruelty and animal fighting cases and raising awareness about the need to take such cases seriously. The Animal Welfare Institute was founded in 1951 to alleviate the suffering inflicted on animals by people. Coincidentally, the first Schweitzer award presented to a law enforcement officer was given in 1964 to another man from Detroit, police Patrolman John Mobley. Other past winners include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas and Jane Goodall. This is the first time the Schweitzer award has been presented to members of a prosecutor's office.
Prasad and Slameka, both assistant prosecutors in the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office, received the award for work they've done with the Animal Protection Unit, which they founded in 2008 to combat the underground criminal community that breeds, trains, houses and sells fighting animals. The unit has a 98 percent conviction rate, handles all crimes involving animals, and is staffed by four assistant prosecutors who volunteer their time in the midst of handling cases in other divisions. In addition to handling animal abuse and cruelty cases, they have also taken on mauling cases, worked with the state legislature on dog-fighting laws, and trained animal control officers and Humane Society investigators on how to properly identify and preserve evidence when responding to crime scenes. One of Prasad and Slameka's most impressive accomplishments occurred when they won a conviction against two men for burning a dog alive in Detroit. One is now serving 13 months to eight years in prison, and the other 24 months to eight years in prison.
Prasad joined the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office in 2005, and is currently assigned to the General Trials Division, which handles murder, armed robbery, and extortion cases. He is the chair of the SBM Animal Law Section's Prosecutors Committee and serves on its Legislative Committee. Prior to his service with the prosecutor's office, he served for five years as assistant state attorney in Tampa, Fla. He earned his law degree from Washington and Lee University.
Slameka joined the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office in 2001, and has served in the Felony Trial Division for the majority of her career. She is currently assigned to the Special Prosecutions Unit on a grant involving energy theft. She serves as a council member for the SBM Animal Law Section, and also serves on the SBM Character and Fitness Committee. Slameka is a board member of the Grosse Pointe Animal Adoption Society. She received her law degree from Michigan State University.