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Raj Prasad and Amy Slameka

LEGAL NEWS FILE PHOTO BY CYNTHIA PRICE

SBM Animal Law Section members receive national 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 on Nov. 14 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.

Prasad and Slameka, both assistant prosecutors in the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office, received the award for work 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, staffed by four assistant prosecutors who volunteer their time in the midst of handling cases in other divisions. They have also worked with the state legislature on officers and investigators on how to 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.

Prasad joined the office in 2005, and is currently assigned to the General Trials Division, which handles murder, armed robbery, and extortion cases. He is chair of the SBM Animal Law Section’s Prosecutors Committee and serves on its Legislative Committee. Slameka joined Wayne County in 2001, serving in the Felony Trial Division for most of her career, and is currently assigned to a special unit on a grant involving energy theft. She is on the SBM Animal Law Section council, and on SBM’s Character and Fitness Committee.