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Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation founder passes away


ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Today, the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation announced that one of its founding members and former president Shirley Sostman, 89, passed away yesterday.

“Shirley was the real deal and a true pioneer for animal welfare in Missouri,” Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation Executive Director Bob Baker said. “She founded the Alliance in 1990 and has been fighting for the welfare of animals for over 40 years. Her advocacy work in the legislature led to many of our existing animal welfare laws and laws against animal cruelty, dog and cockfighting, and puppy mills. We would have few protections for animals in Missouri if not for Shirley’s persistence and dedication.”

“The animal world is deeply saddened by the loss of Shirley,” said Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation Vice President Brook Dubman. “She was not just a friend to the animals, but a friend to all who knew her. Shirley was a true champion for animals and a beautiful soul. The animal community is mourning the loss of its fearless fighter and best friend.”

During her work with the Alliance, Sostman participated in dozens of investigations into animal cruelty and helped expose the harsh realities and brutality of puppy mills. She regularly attended dog auctions to shine a light on the inhumaneness and to try to rescue the dogs. As a result, she saved hundreds of dogs from abusive and neglectful conditions throughout her career.

In 1994, Sostman founded Humane Day, Missouri’s largest legislative advocacy day for animal welfare at the Capitol in Jefferson City. Today, animal advocacy groups and people from all over the state attend.

As a volunteer, Sostman continued her tireless work for animals.  She volunteered for the Humane Society of Missouri, Stray Rescue of St. Louis, the St. Louis Zoo, and the Missouri Department of Conservation Powder Valley Nature Center. Her volunteer work included making presentations to schools, youth groups, and civic groups regarding the need to help animals and protect their habitat.

Sostman served as an Alliance board member and lobbyist from 1990–1999. She was president her final year of service and is a recipient of the Alliance’s prestigious “Grace Korsan Award” for her lifetime of achievement and extraordinary dedication to animal issues.

A memorial service is being held on Sunday, June 30 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Bopp Chapel located at 10610 Manchester Road in Kirkwood, Missouri. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation. For more information go to