Obituaries [July/Aug 2008]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 2008:
Dave Maehr, 52, a University of Kentucky professor known
for his work on Florida panther conservation issues, was killed on
June 20, 2008 along with citrus grower and pilot Mason Smoak, 33,
when Smoak’s light plane crashed after takeoff at the Placid Lakes
Airport in Highlands County, Florida. Maehr and Smoak, a prominent
member of the Florida Farm Bureau Federation, were doing an aerial
survey of the Highlands County black bear population.

Maehr began studying panthers in 1985. “As the principal researcher of a
fiercely protected species, his work came under fire,” summarized
St. Petersburg Times staff writer Stephanie Garry. “A key issue,”
Garry continued, “was how far and where panthers would roam. Maehr
used daytime tracking research to show they wouldn’t travel more than
300 feet between forests, though some said the nocturnal range would
be different.” Maehr’s findings were repeatedly used to permit
development that Florida panther advocates contended would encroach
upon the panthers’ dwindling habitat. “For years Maehr’s research
went unquestioned, even though he represented development interests
at the same time he billed himself as an unbiased scientist,” wrote
Chad Gillis of the Naples Daily News in December 2003. That changed
in May 2004 when 17-year U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologist
Andrew Eller accused his own agency of knowingly using bad data on
panther habitat, reproduction, and survival to approve eight
construction projects, including a mining operation by Florida Rock
Industries Inc. that was opposed by the National Wildlife Federation,
the Florida Wildlife Federation, and the Florida Panther Society.
Eller was fired two months later, but the Florida Rock Industries
project was stopped by U.S. District Judge James Robertson in August
2004, and Eller, supported in a whistleblower lawsuit by Public
Employees for Environmental Responsibility, was rehired in June 2005.

Lise Giraud, 84, died on August 13, 2008. Born in
Austria, she came to the U.S. as a refugee from the Nazis. She
married Stanford University professor of French literature Raymond
Giraud, who died in June 2006. Raymond Giraud in 1983 became lead
plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by the Animal Legal Defense Fund and the
Peninsula Humane Society on behalf of a dog named Snowball, who had
been severely neglected after being used for surgical practice by
Stanford students at a Veteran’s Administration hospital in Palo
Alto. Dismissed when the court ruled that Giraud and the others
lacked “standing” to intervene, the case helped to alert framers of
intended animal protection legislation to the importance of including
clauses enabling animal advocates to bring cases on behalf of
animals. Raymond Giraud later served on the Palo Alto Humane Society
board of directors, and was co-director of education for In Defense
of Animals from 1990 until his death. The Marin County Humane
Society honored Lise and Raymond Giraud together in 1999 as
Humanitarians of the Year. They were charter subscribers to ANIMAL
PEOPLE.

Mithun Chakravarti, 30, known for rescuing and releasing
snakes captured by villagers, was fatally bitten by a wild cobra on
July 12, 2008 at his workplace, D1 B.P. Williamson Magor Bio-fuel
Ltd., of Margherita, Tinsukia district, Dibrugarh, India. A
fellow employee told the Daily Telegraph of India that “Chakravarti
was bitten by a snake twice on his left hand when he went to the
toilet during a power cut. He held the snake with his bare hands and
brought it outside, by which time power was restored. There he
identified the snake and saw the bite. Fearing that the snake could
attack others, he asked his friend Dipak Baruah to get a gunny bag
to keep the snake to be released later. He complained of dizziness
and asked his friend to tie a knot on his injured hand and write down
the name of the anti-venom injection” that he needed, but the first
two hospitals that Chakravarti was taken to were out of anti-venom
serum stocks, and four hours elapsed before the necessary antivenin
was found. Nine injections then failed to save him.

Hans-Peter Haering died on July 28, 2008. Haering in 1956
became the secretary of the Basler Tierschutzvereins,” in
Switzerland,” recalled the Eurogroup for Animal Welfare website,
“and in 1960 he became director of the Schweitzer Tierschutz STS.”
Also in 1960 Haering joined one of the organizations that were merged
in 1981 to form the World Society for the Protection of Animals, and
served a term as WSPA board president, starting in 1996. Haering
came into conflict with Swiss antivivisectionist author Hans Reusch,
who died in August 2007, after CIVIS, the organization Reusch
founded in 1974, took up the cause of Milly Schar-Manzoli,
president of the Lugano-based antivivisection society ATA.
Schar-Manzoli in 1981 triedt to sue the Swiss national drug control
agency for allegedly causing “multiple homicides” by approving drugs
that proved harmful to humans, based on animal test results. A year
later Schar-Manzoli in a book called J’Accuse blamed the Basel-based
Swiss SPCA of helping to thwart her case, complicity in the use of
impounded dogs and cats for biomedical research, and favoring the
drug industry. Then-Swiss SPCA president Richard Steiner, who later
was director general of WSPA, and Haering, then the Swiss SPCA
general secretary, sued Schar-Manzoli for libel. With the case
pending, Schar-Manzoli distributed a portfolio of letters from
Steiner, Haering, and others, called The Fifth Column. The judge
fined Schar-Manzoli and ordered that both publications be withdrawn
from circulation. Schar-Manzoli was somewhat quieted, but Reusch
continued to attack Steiner, Haering, and the Swiss SPCA for their
positions for the last 25 years of his life.

Jean Hagen-Pearce, 68, of Tampa, Florida, was fatally
struck by a car on June 7, 2008 while trying to rescue an injured
owl. The owl died 10 days later at the Florida Veterinary
Specialists clinic in Brandon. [Removing injured animals from a road
is always extremely dangerous, but is most safely done in an
emergency situation, where the very presence of the animal may cause
an accident, by using one’s own car to block oncoming traffic, with
4-way flashers on.]

Herman Flad, 68, and 14 of his 15 horses were killed on
August 5, 2008 when Flad’s tractor-trailer rig collided head-on with
a pickup truck near Rycroft, Alberta. Flad was among the best-known
chuckwagon racers on the Canadian rodeo circuit, competing since
1972.

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