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Randy Grim On Animal Cruelty Task Force: "We're Making Huge Progress"

Categories: Animals

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Stray Rescue
During a 2012 press conference, Randy Grim (center) holds up a photo of a dog that had been starved and thrown in a dumpster.
The five dogs were already dead when members of Stray Rescue entered an abandoned Hamilton Heights apartment building in May 2012. All the animals had been tortured. Some were burned, others strangled or crushed before the end.

The public uproar over the incident led to the formation of Mayor Francis Slay's Animal Cruelty Task Force in September of that year. Since then, the task force -- comprised of Stray Rescue, city police, the circuit attorney's office and the health department -- has gone after hundreds cases of animal abuse and neglect, earning RFT's "Best Worthy Cause" of 2013.

Below, we've got the latest numbers on animal abuse from the mayor's office, and a status update from the founder of the Stray Rescue animal shelter, Randy Grim.

See also: Dogs Rescued from Louisiana Fighting Ring Find Safe Haven in St. Louis

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via
Mandela was left out in the frigid cold and lost a leg but recovered with Stray Rescue's help.
Since its creation eighteen months ago, the task force has prosecuted over 190 cases of animal abuse, issued over 350 citations and made over 25 arrests for misdemeanor and felony charges, according to officials from the circuit attorney and mayor's office.

"We're making huge progress," says Grim.

"It wouldn't be successful if we just ran around and arrested everybody. What makes it successful is giving underserved communities the ability to have pets and to take care of them. If they can't afford it, we step in and help them."

See also: Three Pet Owners Cited for Leaving Animals Outside in St. Louis Cold Snap

When a tip comes in about possible animal abuse, it's Grim who acts as first responder and primary investigator. Then the police arrive.

"They usually meet me at the scene. That's kind of how it works," he says. Grim's got two detectives on his side to handle the sometimes daily barrage of cases. "I contact them directly. I have a direct contact to the circuit attorney's office and the mayor's office, and also with the health department. We all work together."

For years, Grim has been sounding the alarm on the epidemic of animal abuse in the city, especially within the communities of north St. Louis. There, he says, the environmental effects of poverty and violent crime can create horrific living conditions for people and animals alike.

"You really have to help the entire family as a unit, not just the dog," he says.

So the challenge isn't just stopping the abuse, but engaging in what Grim calls a holistic approach to supporting these communities. Stray Rescue members canvass the streets by ZIP code, offering classes on healthy pet ownership, free vet care as well as spay and neuter procedures.

Of course, Grim and his allies are also looking for abused pets.

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Derek Stallworth.
"There's neglect, which really what these classes are for, because it's really someone who doesn't know how to properly care for a dog or a cat," he says.

But when it comes to a violent abuser like Darick Stallworth -- who admitted to killing the dogs in the Hamilton Heights apartment in 2012 -- the solution is prison, not classes.

Stallworth wasn't the only high-profile arrest attributed to the task force:

  • In October 2012, Cennitra Fowler was charged with two misdemeanor counts of animal abuse for starving her two dogs. She had thrown one of the dogs in a dumpster, and it later died. Fowler's punishment involved an animal care class at Stray Rescue, one year of unsupervised probation, community service and a $75 restitution fee to the Humane Society of Missouri. (According to online court documents, Fowler has not yet paid the $75. If she doesn't pay up, a judge could revoke her probation.)
  • The most well-known case of abuse investigated by the task force was the awful burning death of Brownie the dog. Adrienne Martin -- who had posted to Facebok about being "on a killa mode" -- was charged with felonies in July 2013. Martin and her family dispute the charges. Her next hearing is April 21.
  • Wesley Reid was arrested in October 2013 for burning a three-year-old pit bull named Zeus to death. He was charged with two felonies and is awaiting a plea hearing set for April 4. Reid allegedly texted Zeus' owner before he set the dog on fire.

Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at @D_Towski. E-mail the author at Danny.Wicentowski@RiverfrontTimes.com



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16 comments
Jody Bradshaw
Jody Bradshaw

About time he gets recognition !!! Great job Randy!! A lot of us love what your doing!! Thanks tons!

Liza Vader III
Liza Vader III

I have no pity on anyone that abuses children, elderly and animals; in that order children should be protected more so than animals just saying.

Bridget Scott
Bridget Scott

we need more like Randy. it's a shame that these poor animal had to go thorough all that torture. I hope who every did this is torture the same way. I have no pity for anyone that abuse animals.

Anna Probst
Anna Probst

So many facepalms all over this. So many.

Jason M Parker
Jason M Parker

Ryan Gosling. People defend dogs and animals before they will defend an innocent minority child. Sad but true

Cora Culli
Cora Culli

Mr Gosling your opinion is well taken, however the dogs are defenseless, can't talk and only want to be loved and need protection. The police aren't afraid and the trash you speak of and those protecting them will be back on the streets in no time, so the police fight a losing battle there. At least they are winning with the animals and for that I am truly grateful.

Ryan Gosling
Ryan Gosling

So instead they go after dog killers and people with small amounts of drugs on their person.

Ryan Gosling
Ryan Gosling

Although I agree with you, I was commenting more on the fact the police are too afraid to go in and pull out the real trash because of the trouble some of the citizens may give them.

Suzanne Lorenz Seibel
Suzanne Lorenz Seibel

Actually, people that harm animals will also harm people (physically and psychologically). I wouldn't be surprised that the animal abusers have other warrants, too.

Alexandra Dee
Alexandra Dee

<3 That man!!!! So glad to see him being recognized by so many!

Lynn Meoli
Lynn Meoli

So thankful for everything you do every day, Randy Grim!!!! :)

Ryan Gosling
Ryan Gosling

That's great, now what is the city going to do about all the other crime and murder?

trisha.fravel
trisha.fravel

Mr Gosling, there are many many agencies that are out there protecting people and children. The animals need a voice too.  U make is sound like the police do nothing else but animal welfare. They are just one faction of the police force.  As an animal rescuer myself, I am often asked why animals and not people?  I tell them " I am an animal protector person, what have you protected?" I also get " why do you travel out of the country to rescue animals, aren't there enough here?  I tell them I go where I am needed regardless of boundaries"   Its about the individual passion of a person.  Find your passion and run with it.  I have had the great honor of working beside Mr Grim in the field doing animal rescue in New Orleans.  He has the biggest heart and the love and patience needed for our type of passion.  I am grateful to all that volunteer in whatever field they are passionate about.

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