From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2007:
George Vedder, 91, of Monroe, Connecticut, died on
November 18, 2007 in nearby Bridgeport. An engineer/gunner on a
B-24 bomber during World War II, Vedder worked after the war as an
assembler of aircraft engines. Retiring in 1975, Vedder became a
feral cat feeder. In 1991 Vedder teamed with Kim Bartlett and
Merritt Clifton to trap, sterilize, vaccinate, and release the
many feral cats who inhabited a supermarket parking lot beside the
Monroe offices of the Animals’ Agenda magazine, where Bartlett was
editor and Clifton was news editor. The surgeries were done by
Arnold Brown, DVM, of Trumbull. The project expanded to eight main
locations in northern Fairfield County, and became the first
well-documented U.S. demonstration of neuter/return feral cat
control, honored by the Town of Monroe Police Department for
keeping a raccoon rabies outbreak from crossing into cats. Designing
and building many of the traps used in the project, Vedder continued
to promote and practice neuter/return for the rest of his life.

Frank Viola, 87, died on October 3, 2007 at his Brooklyn
home. Born into a family of Italian immigrant pigeon flyers, Viola
joined the U.S. Army early in World War II and donated his first
flock to the Signal Corps. He was wounded in the 1944 Normandy
invasion. Becoming one of the pigeon racing elite at a time when
pigeon flying was at a peak of popularity, Viola observed a rule
against either selling or killing a bird, and would give birds to
other pigeon fanciers with the stipulation that the birds could never
be sold or killed. As interest in pigeon racing declined, Viola in
the early 1990s sought to revive it by founding an annual 400-mile
Ohio-to-New York invitational race offering $200,000 in prize money,
put up from his personal resources. Following his death, the Frank
Viola Invitational will no longer be held.

Aarti, 9, of Ghookma, near Ghazibad, India, died in late
October of an unspecified illness. A wild monkey followed the family
members who collected her remains from the hospital where she died,
accompanied them to her home, wept beside her body, watched her
cremation, and remained there grieving after all of the other
mourners left.

Tatyana Pavlova, 76, died on August 21, 2007. Recalled
VITA president Irina Novozhilova, “In 1989 Pavlova founded the first
Russian vegetarian society since the 1917 Revolution. In 1992 she
created the Centre for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which aimed
to combat the exploitation of animals, and the Scientific Medical
Centre, which propagated vegetarianism. Holding degrees in both
English literature and biology, Pavlova began her animal protection
activities in the late 1960s,” Novozhilova wrote, “when she
initiated inspections at laboratories, fur farms, and
slaughterhouses. Through her efforts, the Ministry of Health in
1977 banned experiments on animals without anaesthetic. Similar
edicts were then issued by other ministries with responsibility for
research and testing involving animals,” including “a regulation
barring dissertations from being considered for awards if the
research had involved extreme animal suffering.” Promoting
alternatives to animal use in experiments, Pavlova wrote the first
Russian textbook on bioethics for schools, leading to the
introduction of bioethics courses at several universities. In the
early 1990s, Novozhilova recalled, “Pavlova persuaded a Russian TV
channel to broadcast a series of documentaries,” produced in western
nations, which “introduced the idea that animals have rights to many
people. In 1994 she organised the first Russian animal-rights
demonstration at Pushkin Square in central Moscw. In 1998, again
thanks to her, we saw the first advertisement on the benefits of
vegetarianism on the Moscow metro and the first animal rights
advertisement at Moscow’s Pushkin Square.” Pavlova in 1998 authored
a Russian Federation draft law on animal protection. “The draft law
passed all three necessary readings in the Russian parliament and
received the approval of the Council of the Russian Federation,”
Novozhilova wrote, “but was vetoed in 2000 by Russian president
Vladimir Putin, and remains in limbo.”

Peter A.A. Berle, 69, died on November 1, 2007 from
injuries suffered when an outbuilding he was demolishing fell on him
at his Angus cattle ranch near Stock-bridge, Massachusetts. An
early specialist in environmental law, Berle headed the New York
Department of Environmental Conserv-ation from 1976 to 1979, and
headed the National Audubon Society from 1985 to 1995.

Eric York, 37, a wildlife biologist at Grand Canyon
National Park, died of plague on November 2, 2007, several days
after doing a necropsy on a puma who had also died of plague. York
was the first person to contract plague in Arizona since 2000.

Schaunell Bryant, 15, of Yulee, Florida, who hoped to
become a veterinarian, was a passenger in her mother’s car on
November 1, 2007 when a dog ran in front of them and was hit.
Bryant rushed to help the dog, and was fatally struck by Christopher
Peeples, 23, of Yulee. The Fernandina Beach News-Leader in
Bryant’s memory published the ANIMAL PEOPLE tip that people trying to
rescue animals from roadways should always block oncoming traffic
first with their own vehicles, with four-way flashers on.

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