Human obituaries

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, Spetember 2004:

Dan Knapp, 49, died unexpectedly on August 1, 2004.
Longtime friend Warren Cox told ANIMAL PEOPLE that he understood
Knapp suffered a heart attack while mowing his lawn. An ordained
minister, Knapp led churches in Piedmont, San Jose, Santa Monica,
and Huntingon Park, California, and handled inventory control for a
Silicon Valley maker of mass spectrometers, before finding his
calling in 1988-1989 as executive director of the Humane Society of
Humboldt County. Moving to the somewhat larger Humane Society of
Sonoma County in 1990, Knapp achieved an economic turnaround,
markedly reduced animal control killing, and formed effective
alliances with cat rescuers, dog breed rescue clubs, local
children’s services, and animal rights groups. Knapp was recruited
in July 1998 to become general manager of the Los Angeles Department
of Animal Regulation. Knapp in March 2000 persuaded the Los Angeles
city council to adopt one of the widest differentials on record in
the cost of licensing sterilized v.s. unsterilized pets. A favorite
of animal rights activists, Knapp otherwise ran into conflict and
controversy in Los Angeles, most memorably when he attributed a
controversial mid-2000 roundup of free-roaming dogs to preparation
for the Democratic National Convention, and was rebuked by Mayor
Richard Riordan. An epileptic since 1996, Knapp was fired by
Riordan’s successor, James K. Hahn, in October 2001, after a
prolonged medical absence. He subsequently sued Los Angeles for
alleged discrimination based on his epileptic condition. In January
2002 he became executive director of the Capital Area Humane Society
in Columbus, Ohio, where–as in Sonoma County–he won praise from
all quarters. “Dan was an important advocate for animals and people
in our community,” said CAHS board president Becky Johnson. “He was
committed to preventing animal and human violence through
intervention and community education. Dan provided exemplary
leadership, and will be difficult to replace.”

Nafisa Joseph, 26, hanged herself in her Mumbai apartment
on July 29, 2004, leaving no note of explanation. Born and raised
in Bangalore, Joseph won the Miss India pageant in 1997. She used
the position and her subsequent popularity as a fashion model and MTV
video host to promote animal welfare at every opportunity. People
for Animals, PETA, the Blue Cross of India, and the Animal Rights
Fund of Bangalore were among the recipients of her generosity with
both time and money. “She was a very balanced person, and her death
has come as a shock to us,” said Animal Rights Fund spokesperson
Dilip Bafna. “Nafisa may have felt jilted in love,” wrote Meenakshi
Sinha of the Mumbai publication Enlarge. She was set to marry auto
parts dealer Gautam Khanduja on August 7,” but Khanduja broke the
engagement on July 27 for unknown reasons. “Nafisa had a medical
problem. She was suffering from epilepsy, and that could be a
reason why the engagement was called off, though she was receiving
treatment,” speculated her friend and fellow model Marc Robinson.
Long recognized as treatable and controlable in the developed world,
epilepsy is still much feared in Asia.

Barbara Ann Bumgarner, 45, shot herself on August 10,
2004, a close friend told ANIMAL PEOPLE. A longtime employee of
the Newport Animal Shelter in Newport, Tennessee, well-regarded by
animal control colleagues, Bumgarner was promoted to shelter
director in July 1999 after the death of previous director Sherry
Cobb. Bumgarner was demoted back to humane officer in September 2003
aftter a nine-month dispute with the Newport city council over
whether she was entitled to a pay raise as a department head. She
had increased her annual salary to $31,138, but the council ordered
that it be reduced back to circa $20,000, about half the salary paid
to male city department heads. Bumgarner unsuccessfully pursued a
gender discrimination lawsuit against the city.

Lilian Moore, 95, died on July 20, 2004, at home in
Seattle. Highlights of her career included editing a newspaper
called The Unemployed Teacher for the Un-employed Teacher’s Council
during the Great Depression, founding the Scholastic Arrow Book Club
and Lucky Book Club in 1957 to encourage children to read, and
founding the Council on Interracial Books for Children in 1964, but
she was best known for her Little Raccoon children’s book series, a
hit in both English and Russian, and other children’s books about
animals, including Old Rosie, the Horse Nobody Understood (1960).

James Stephen Watts, 64, a noted longtime local dog and cat
rescuer who found adoptive homes among a wide circle of friends, was
beaten to death in his Oak Cliff, Texas home circa March 11, 2004.
Details were withheld until July while police tried unsuccessfully to
identify the killer.

Hewitt B. Cabirac Sr. died on July 19, 2004 in Covington,
Louisiana, his home for 41 years. A lab technician for 25 years at
the Tulane Regional Primate Research Center, an institution often at
odds with animal advocates, Cabirac asked that memorials be made to
the St. Tammany Humane Society.

Wabbi Leonard, Ph.D., founder of Humane Uganda, an
outspoken opponent of meat-eating and hunting, died on July 1, 2004
after a prolonged bout with heart disease and pnuemonia. As a
delegate to the All Africa Humane Education Summit held in Cape Town
in 2003, Leonard was conspicuous for his indefatigible good humor.
Leadership of Humane Uganda passed to colleague Tuliraba Prima.

Jack Nicholas, 71, notorious as the farmer who covertly
released rabbit calicivirus smuggled from Australia to the North
Island of New Zealand in late 1997, was mysteriously shot three
times on August 26 as he fed his pet sheep circa 7 a.m. The
intrduced disease killed millions of rabbits during the next few
years, but gradually lost potency as the surviving rabbits developed

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