From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 1999:
Gloria Marie De Martini
Stradner, 72, died on December 22 from
cancer of the lungs and brain, discovered
only six weeks earlier. For more than 50
years Stradner fed, neutered, and tried to
find homes for dogs and cats she found abandoned
at the Evergreen, Mount Neboh, and
Cypress Hills cemeteries in Brooklyn and
Queens, funding her work and supporting
herself with jobs in catering halls. “I would
estimate she saved thousands of animals,”
Last Post Animal Sanctuary manager Jeanne
Toomey told New York Times obituarist
Richard Severo. Stradner had no known relatives.
Fellow animal rescuers Michael and
Anne Marie Puccino reportedly took care of
her own two dogs, Lance and Ivy.
Andrea Van Guilder, 21, of
Duluth, Minnesota, was killed on December
30 when she tried to help a lost dog she had
hit with her car, and was crushed by a pickup
truck driven by Steven Busch, 38, of
Roseville, Minnesota. Busch also seriously
injured Amy McCarthy, 22, who came looking
for the dog moments after Van Guilder
hit him. “Andrea was freaking out because
she loved animals,” her roommate Janine
Nordberg told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Nordberg said she tried unsuccessfully to
warn Van Guilder and McCarthy to get out of
the road just as Busch slammed into them.
Lawton Chiles, 68, governor of
Florida, died December 12. Not known as
an animal lover, Chiles did often refer to
himself as “the old he-coon,” according to
his former communications director, Ron
Sachs, who drew media attention to a baby
raccoon who peered into Chiles’ grave as
Florida National Guard members were digging
it, and a raccoon who visited the lawn
of the governor’s mansion the night of
December 14. Chiles’ family, Sachs said,
“were clearly delighted, even in their grief,”
by the raccoon sightings.
Kristen Frank, 44, of Cody,
Wyoming, drowned in Upper Beck Lake on
December 7, apparently trying to rescue one
of her two dogs. The dog also drowned.
Smitty Rose, 10, a severely
injured polo horse, died on December 26
outside her stall in Fultonville, New York.
Smitty Rose apparently suffered a hairline
fracture of her right rear tibia in a September
polo match at Saratoga Springs, first diagnosed
as only a cut. Veterinarian Bill Barnes
splinted the injury, but recognized it as more
serious than he initially thought and recommended
euthanasia. Her owner, Florida millionaire
Ann Mallinckrodt, instead removed
the splint and pursued treatment through
prayer, following her Christian Science
beliefs. The bone shattered, the wound festered,
and Barnes filed a cruelty complaint
against Mallinckrodt, seeking a court order
to perform euthanasia. New York State
Supreme Court Justice Robert Best ruled in
November that Smitty Rose could not be
euthanized without Mallinckrodt’s approval.
Paleface, 10, a rare white alligator
resident at the Aquarium of the Americas in
New Orleans since it opened in 1990, choked
to death on December 23 after snapping up a
coin tossed by a visitor before docents could
interfere. Coin-tossing is against the wellposted
aquarium rules. Found in 1987 along
with 17 other white alligators who now live
at the Audubon Park Zoo in New Orleans,
Paleface and family are not albinos, but
rather true-breeding leucistic mutations.
Kiana, 5, viewed by more than
250,000 people since 1993 at the
International Wolf Center in Ely, Minnesota,
died suddenly on December 26 after a brief
fit of running in tight circles.
Elsa, 21, an African lion suffering
from feline immunodeficiency virus, was
euthanized on December 10 at the Columbus
Zoo in Columbus, Ohio, due to complications
of age. Her mate, Tom Tom, 15, died
of FIV in December 1997. Reported the
Columbus Dispatch, “The virus was diagnosed
in the two lions in April 1992, the
same year the zoo returned three lions on
loan from South Africa after they tested positive
for FIV. It was never established
whether Elsa and Tom were infected by the
South African lions.”
Ted, 8, the draft horse companion
of carpenter Dana Dodge, 46, who is diabetic
and suffering after-effects of a May 1997
stroke, died after being shot in the back on
December 20 for no clear reason, while
standing in his stall near Croydon, New
Hampshire. Scott Adams, 30, was charged
with felony cruelty, conspiracy, and trespassing;
Marc Kemmis, 31, was charged
with conspiracy and trespassing; and Richard
Kimball, 39, was also charged with trespassing.
Police said the trespassing charges were
from an earlier incident, but gave no details.
Blue Devil, 6, and Cruella, 5, a
pair of aye-ayes, died just hours apart on
December 19 and 20, soon after a transfer
from the Duke University Primate Center to
the Bronx Zoo. The cause was unknown.
Other aye-ayes had traveled without incident.
Aye-ayes are rare primates described by
Susan Kauffman of the Raleigh News &
Observer as “nocturnal animals who roughly
resemble a combination bat, beaver, and
raccooon.” They are highly endangered in
their native Madagascar. Duke still has 10.
Two others are at the San Francisco Zoo.
Sita, 17, who raised a record 18
cubs from six litters in the Bengal jungle,
and appeared on a National Geographic cover
in 1997, was last seen in the Bandhavgarh
national park of Madya Pradesh, India, in
October. A formal search for some trace of
her began on December 24. Experts believe
she may either have been poached or died
quietly from complications of age.
Hobbit, an 11-year-old tabby, was
fatally mauled in his owner Joan Salmon’s
garden on November 26, in front of the
Salmon family, by hounds of the Sinnington
Hunt in Kirkbyside, North Yorkshire,
England. Hobbit was the fourth known feline
victim of the British fox hunting season.