Obituaries

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2008:
Perry Fina, 59, died on January 6, 2008 in New Milford,
Connecticut, after a long fight with cancer. A former U.S. Navy Seal
who served three tours in Vietnam, Fina upon leaving the Navy became
an animal behaviorist. He and his wife Linda operated Hearthstone
Kennels in New Milford for 29 years. North Shore Animal League
president John Stevenson hired Fina as an animal training consultant
in 1993. Fina joined North Shore fulltime in 1995 as director of
special adoptions, training animals as companions for disabled
people. He became director of operations in 1997, director of
corporate development in 2003, vice president of national shelter
outreach in 2006, and vice president of planned giving in 2007.
Recalled North Shore in a memorial statement, “Ever the gentleman,
Perry was renowned for his distinctive voice. At many League events,
his was the ‘Voice of God’ that magically filled the room. Perry
Fina devoted his energy, his mind, and above all his heart, to a
vision of a better world for companion animals.” Fina was also noted
for his deadpan sense of humor, and was especially remembered for
his leadership on September 11, 2001, when he saw the two hijacked
aircraft hit the World Trade Center on his way to work. Among the
last commuters to cross the Whitestone bridge before it was closed,
Fina bunked for the duration of the crisis at the North Shore
shelter, with other staff, who followed a disaster plan previously
practiced during severe snow storms. By sundown North Shore had a
mobile unit at Pier 40, near the World Trade Center, assisting the
rescue dogs and pets stranded in the area. Fina also supervised
distributing a temporary excess of donated food to other shelters
throughout the region.

Murdaugh Madden, 85, died in Washington D.C. on January 13,
2008. Recalled longtime Massachusetts SPCA attorney Robert
cummings, “Murdaugh was a legal advisor to the Humane society of the
U.S. from shortly after its organization until his death. He was a
member of the board of one of the two organizations which merged to
form the World Society for the Protection of Animals in 1981, was
one of the original WSPA board members, and remained on the board
until his retirement 10 years ago.”
Christina Winzer, 29, suddenly collapsed and died of an
unknown cause on January 11, 2008 at the Los Angeles Depart-ment of
Animal Services’ San Pedro shelter. Winzer headed the shelter’s
community outreach and adoption program,. She previously worked for
the Southeast Area Animal Control Authority in Downey, California.
Winzer left sons Trevor, 7, and Daniel, 5.

Vishwant Kumar, 65, founder of the Sai Animal Welfare
Ashram in Mehrauli, a New Delhi suburb, and Shivraj, 35, the
ashram caretaker, were found dead of poisoning on December 21,
2007, along with eight of the 60 dogs at the ashram. Kumar was
reportedly involved in a dispute over ownership of the ashram land.
“There is also the angle of people asking him to move with his dogs,”
Friendicoes SECA shelter and hospital founder Geeta Seshamani told
ANIMAL PEOPLE. “His son would like to continue his good work but
can’t manage it himself, so he has turned to a few regular
volunteers. The moment we all got the news,” Seshamani added,
[People for Animals founder] Maneka Gandhi offered to take all the
dogs to her shelter at PfA Sadrana, and Friendicoes as well as the
Sonadi Trust and Sanjay Gandhi Animal Care Centre sent their vehicles
and personnel to help out.” Mrs. Gandhi told ANIMAL PEOPLE that she
had known Kumar for more than 40 years.

Gwendolyn T. Britt, 66, died unexpectedly in Lanham,
Maryland on January 12, 2008 of an unknown cause. A longtime civil
rights activist, Britt was elected to the Maryland state senate in
2002. Recalled Humane Society Legislative Fund president Mike
Markarian, “She was the main sponsor of two animal protection bills
last year, seeking to ban gestation crates in factory farming and
ban the use of steel-jawed leghold traps and wire neck snares for
recreational trapping and commerce in fur pelts. Before her death,
she was preparing to introduce a bill in the 2008 session to require
labeling fur apparel, to protect consumers from being deceived into
buying animal fur falsely advertised as ‘faux,’ and was planning to
introduce a bill to ban force-feeding ducks and geese in order to
fatten their livers to make foie gras.”
William Deterer, 73, remembered by Baltimore Sun reporter
Ruma Kumar as “a once-avid hunter who turned into a wildlife advocate
and co-founded a bird and animal rescue center with his wife,” died
of heart failure on December 26, 2007 in Baltimore. Employed for 31
years at a meatpacking plant, Deterer quit hunting when he married
his wife Gerda Reuss in 1984, after a 21-year-friendship, and in
1990 helped her to start Wild Bird Rescue, now called Wildlife
Rescue Inc. The organization now handles about 3,500 animals per
year, working in cooperatin with the Maryland Department of Natural
Resources, Maryland Zoo, National Aquarium, and Carrie Murray
Nature Center.

G.K. Vishwanath, 53, died on January 2, 2008 in Bangalore,
India, from injuries suffered on November 10, 2007 when he was
trampled by a wild elephant he was trying to keep from following two
tame elephants into the Bannerghatta Biological Park public
recreation area. A 15-year employee of the Karnataka Forest
Department, Vishawanath had been assistant director of animal
husbandry and veterinary services at Bannerghatta since 2005,
following 13 years at the Tyavarekoppa Tiger Lion Safari in Shimoga.
Karnataka Governor Rameshwar Thakur had honored Vishawanath for his
contributions to wildlife on October 15, 2007. Recalled Pablo
Tachil, who heads the Compassion Unlimited Plus Action wildlife
rehabilitation center at Bannerghatta, “He was a good friend and
mentor–someone I looked up to.”

Samuel Leonard, 101, died on November 11, 2007 in Ithaca,
New York. A longtime Cornell University professor, Leonard
discovered through a rat study in 1931 that estrogen can prevent
pregnancy. This discovery was the basis of the modern
pharmacological birth control industry, and of the pregnant mares
urine industry, the original commercial source of estrogen and still
a major supplier.

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