Hard to believe it's been a year since the mayor formed a task force to combat Baltimore's animal cruelty problem.

Then-Mayor Sheila Dixon formed the Anti-Animal Abuse Task Force last summer in the aftermath of the death of Phoenix, the Pit bull puppy doused with gasoline and set on fire. On Wednesday, the group will meet for the last time before turning in its final report with recommendations.

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The public is encouraged to attend the meeting, which starts at 6 p.m. in the auditorium of Baltimore Polytechnic High School, 1400 W. Cold Spring Lane. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is supposed to be attending.

The task force includes representatives from city offices, the police, the states attorney's office, animal welfare organizations and city residents.

The group was supposed to have spent the last year assessing the effectiveness of Baltimore's cruelty laws and brainstorming ways to raise awareness of animal abuse. They were also to consider ways city agencies and animal advocates could better coordinate their efforts to stop abuse and better prosecute offenses.

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