From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1998:

Joanne Boyle, 42, of Quincy,
California, was killed by an automobile as
she crossed the road on March 21, while
traveling in Nevada. From her late teens and
for 10 years thereafter, Boyle worked for the
late Pegeen Fitzgerald’s Vivisection
Investigation League. On her own, Boyle
promoted cat adoptions. Beginning in the
summer of 1975, Boyle was an enthusiastic
participant in the 18-month campaign which
stopped the American Museum of Natural
History’s cat sex experiments––the first
major victory over vivisection in the modern
history of the animal rights movement.
Boyle created some of the most imaginative
posters and was an active demonstrator. She
was both committed and creative, and a good
friend, missed by all whom she touched.
––Henry Spira

John Fletcher, 78, of St. Paul,
Minnesota, first director of the Como Zoo,
died on April 2 of leukemia, barely a month
after the death of his wife Valata. Previously
senior groundskeeper at the Woodland Park
Zoo in Seattle, Fletcher was hired to revitalize
the Como Zoo in 1957. Recalled the
Minneapolis Star Tribune, “Fletcher introduced
attractions such as Sparky the Seal, a
showoff sea lion who performed on cue,” in
a manner now generally considered inappropriate
for zoos. But under Fletcher the Como
Zoo also presaged the current zoo emphasis
on conservation, as reputedly the first North
American zoo to raise abandoned Siberian
tiger cubs, and “pioneered the exchange of
zoo animals for breeding,” the Star Tribune
added. The Star Tribune credited Fletcher
for “springing animals from cramped cages to
more natural surroundings“ in renovations
undertaken to keep up with the much larger
Minnesota Zoo, which opened in 1978.
Fletcher retired in 1985.
Lesley Sinclair, 78, founder of
the Animal Care Sanctuary in East
Smithfield, Pennsylvania, not related to the
veterinarian of the same name who works for
the Humane Society of the U.S., died on
March 30. Born in London, England,
Sinclair came to the U.S. in 1941. She began
the Animal Care Sanctuary in 1967 in Tom’s
River, New Jersey, after a long career in
New York City as an interior decorator, and
moved it to rural Pennsylvania in 1982. “ I
have for a long time known that the multimillionaire
animal organizations do nothing
much,” she wrote to ANIMAL PEOPLE in
1992. “I am not surprised. The wealth of the
animal world has bonded together for their
own benefit, not for that of the animals in
need of help.” Of her own sanctuary, she
added, “We have over 500 cats here, 145
dogs, and a pet pig, Sally, and feed the
wildlife. I do not believe in killing.”
Bessie Bengston Dower, 95, of
Portland, Connecticut, died on January 31.
A retired teacher, Dower “was a member of
many animal protection organizations, and
was active in the Valley Shore Animal
Welfare Society and Protectors of Animals in
Glastonbury, Connecticut, into her
nineties,” remembered Mildred Lucas of the
Foundation for Animal Protection.
Louie Jelicich, 83, a Sacramento
animal control officer from 1944 to 1974,
died of cancer in Sacramento on March 30.
The Sacramento Bee recalled his public arguments
that dogs are by nature much better
behaved than many of their owners.
Topol, 18, African lion, last male
of a line resident at the San Francisco Zoo
since 1939, was euthanized on March 31 due
to chronic health conditions for which he had
been treated since 1994.
Oscar Ray Leonard, a cat named
first for the Sesame Street cartoon character
who lives in a trash can, and later for battle
scars resembling those of the boxer Sugar
Ray Leonard, died of feline AIDS in early
April, after 11 years as mascot of the North
Richland Hills animal shelter in Austin,
Texas. “It took about a year to get him to
where he wouldn’t attack dogs,” Austin
environmental services director Pam Burney
recalled, but Oscar then served nine years as
head cat for Warm Hugs On Wheels, the
shelter’s animal therapy program. In 1992
the Delta Society flew Oscar to Montreal
first-class, to accept an award for helping
Florence Bohlin, 99, survive pneumonia.
Minnie, 41, reportedly “the last
surviving astrochimp from the early days of
the NASA space program,” died on March
14 from “old age” at the Coulston Foundation
chimpanzee facility in Alamogordo, New
Mexico. The only female chimp ever trained
to fly in space, Minnie was understudy to the
much better known Ham, whose 15-minute
suborbital flight in 1961 was preliminary to
Alan Shepherd’s flight as first U.S. human
astronaut that May. Minnie was also understudy
for the space chimp Enos, but never
actively took part in a mission. Put into the
U.S. Air Forse chimp breeding program after
the space chimp program ended, Minnie
reared nine young of her own and helped rear
other infant chimps, who according to wire
service reports were “used in medical
research” pertaining to hepatitis-B and AIDS.
Marguerite, born February 20,
the first cloned calf in France, died April 4
from an infected muscle tear suffered in an
attempted escape from her pen at the
National Institute of Agronomic Research in
Paris. Marguerite was cloned from a muscle
cell retrieved from a 60-day-old fetus the
researchers found at a slaughterhouse.
High Red, 11, quarterhorse mascot
at Texas Tech university, 1995-1997,
was spooked into a fatal collision with a
fence during a March 15 lightning storm.
High Red was retired as mascot and put to
pasture on the Texas Tech farm in New Deal
after suffering a leg injury last August. He
was buried beside his predecessor, Double T,
who bolted into a wall at Jones Stadium and
died during a September 1994 football game.
A three-week-old male western
lowland gorilla, the first delivered by natural
birth in Australia, died of unknown cause
at the Taronga Zoo on March 29––just before
he was to be named by zoo officials, who
had held a contest to select a name. His
mother, Frala, 17, carried the remains for
two days, guarded by the silverback Kibabu,
20, and eight other members of their family.
Buluman, 39, chief western lowland
silverback gorilla at the Melbourne Zoo
since 1990, was euthanized due to generally
failing health on March 31.
Anana, 8, female polar bear at the
Baltimore Zoo, died March 20 during
surgery for severe intestinal enteritis.
Twiggy, 2, mute swan at Bedford
Basin, Nova Scotia, died in late March from
internal bleeding after attempted sterilization
by an Atlantic Veterinary College veterinarian
who had never operated on a swan before,
but undertook the operation to enable her to
remain wild, despite opposition to her presence––as
a non-native species––from the
Nova Scotia Wildlife Federation.

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