Both Prasad and Slameka are Assistant Prosecution Attorneys at the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office in Michigan, where they founded the Animal Protection Unit in 2008. The volunteer unit is staffed by four attorneys and an advocate who deals with all aspects of animal-related crime cases. The unit, which has established a 98 percent conviction rate over the past three years, has taken on cases involving animal abuse and cruelty, mauling cases, and has worked with the legislature to establish dog-fighting laws. The unit has also providing training for animal control officers and the Humane Society on the handling of evidence at crime scenes.
Through their years on the unit, Prasad and Slameka have seen abuse of all kinds but one case that really stands out involved a pit bull that was doused with gasoline and lighter fluid and set on fire in Detroit. The attack, which was caught on a cell phone camera, resulted in the conviction of two men. One was given a prison sentence of 13 months to eight years and the other received 24 months to eight years in prison.
“These animal cases tug at your heartstrings; you have these truly innocent victims…who can't speak for themselves,” said Prasad.
Despite the long hours put in to animal cases, all members of the Animal Protection Unit also handle cases in their assigned units. Slameka spends much of her career with the felony trial division but currently works with the Special Prosecutions Unit. Prasad is currently assigned to the General Trials Division, where he handles cases involving murder, armed robbery, and extortion.
Despite the hefty demands placed on them, the members of the Animal Protection unit are dedicated to each and every case that comes their way. “We take each case to heart. We take each case of animal abuse very seriously. We're very passionate and compassionate about it,” said Slameka.
Prasad has been with the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office since 2005 and is currently the chairman of the State Bar of Michigan's Animal Law Section's Prosecutors Committee and also serves on its Legislative Committee. He spent five years as an assistant state attorney in Tampa
, Florida and holds a JD from Washington and Lee University School of Law. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
Slameka joined the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office in 2001 and immediately took a special interest in animal cases. She is an executive member of the State Bar of Michigan's Animal Law Section and is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan's Character and Fitness Committee. Additionally, she serves as a board member of the Grosse Point Animal Adoption Society. Slameka holds a JD from Michigan State University Law and a BS from Michigan State University.
Michelle Welch, an Assistant Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Virginia, was also presented with an Albert Schweitzer Award for her involvement in animal cruelty and animal fighting cases, as well as her commitment to bringing awareness to these and other animal-law issues.
The Animal Welfare Institute was founded in 1951 to address the suffering animals are subjected to at the hands of humans. The institute's Albert Schweitzer Award, named in honor of the Nobel Peace Prize winner, was established to recognize achievement in the area of animal welfare.