Woman killed in Kansas City was ‘animal crusader.’ KCPD hasn’t said how she died

A 31-year-old woman who was killed last week in a homicide in Kansas City is being remembered as a passionate “animal crusader.”

Elizabeth Stivers worked for over a decade at A Dog’s Fun Playce, now called KC Protective Animal Welfare Society (KC PAWS).

On March 14, the Kansas City Police Department was called to a disturbance in the Lykins neighborhood where officers located Stivers suffering from traumatic injuries. She was transported to a hospital where she died.

Officer Donna Drake, a KCPD spokeswoman, said there was no update on the investigation into her homicide as of Monday afternoon. Police have not specified how Stivers was killed.

Sandi Outlaw, president of KC PAWS, said she does not know how to process Stivers’ death.

“To say that I’m devastated is like an understatement,” Outlaw said during a phone interview with The Star on Monday.

In 2008, she hired Stivers, who became a manager in 2014. Outlaw said Stivers’ sense of compassion for abused and neglected animals was evident, recalling a dog they had rescued who had suffered abuse.

“Liz spent so much time with that dog that it let go of its fears,” Outlaw remembered. Eventually, the dog was adopted.

She said Stivers often spent extra time with dogs that had been neglected or subjected to cruel treatment, giving them love and building trust.

“Her passion was never, ever in doubt,” Outlaw said.

Michelle Cole said she worked briefly with Stivers, who she described as a skilled dog handler that “all of the clients loved.” Cole said she hopes justice is served.

When COVID hit, Stivers left the nonprofit, but continued to stay in touch with Outlaw.

A fundraiser, verified by GoFundMe, was launched by coworkers to pay for Stivers’ funeral and to help take care of her pets.

“The staff, customers, and volunteers all knew Liz and her dogs,” the organizers of the fundraiser posted. “Shain was one of her dogs and that dog lived for Liz. If Liz wasn’t in the room Shain was just a broken girl, no playing, just laying around waiting for Liz to come back. I can only imagine her confusion right now. Her family and friends are all lost and hurt.”