Obituaries [Oct 09]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2009:


Gayle Kegin Hoenig, 68, died on September 19, 2009 in
Aspen, Colorado, from complications of a stroke suffered in January
2009. A licensed wildlife rehabilitator since 1984, Hoenig operated
a private wildlife sanctuary at her home in Colorado Springs; did
extensive wildlife education, “especially about bats,” recalled
friend Marcia Davis; contributed articles to The Ark, published by
the Britsh-based organization Catholic Concern for Animals; and was
active in support of the Zimbabwe National SPCA and Zimbabwe Wildlife
Conservation Task Force. “Gayle devoted her life to animal welfare.
She worked tirelessly for the prevention of cruelty to animals. Her
death is a tragic and irreplaceable loss,” e-mailed Zimbabwe
Conservation Task Force chair Johnny Rodrigues.

Jeanne Toomey, 88, died on September 17, 2009 in Falmouth,
Maine. Toomey at age 21 quit studies at the Fordham University law
school to cover the police beat for the Brooklyn Eagle. Among the
first women to cover crime in New York City, and possibly the first
in the 20th century, Toomey later covered the waterfront, cofounded
the New York Press Club in 1948, and worked for other newspapers as
far west as Reno, Nevada. With psychiatrist Colter Rule, Toomey
co-authored several successful self-help books in the early 1970s.
She later produced a crime novel. Her 2006 memoir Assignment
Homicide: Behind the Headlines described the difficulties women had
in developing careers on mainstream news beats during her era.
Toomey retired from journalism in 1989 to head the Last Post no-kill
cat shelter in Falls Village, Connecticut, after the death of
founder and longtime New York City radio show host Pegeen Fitzgerald.
Toomey retired from that position in 2007.

Theresa Foss, 48, an animal control officer for the
Plainfield Police Department in Plainfield, Connecticut, died on
October 8, 2009 from head injuries suffered on September 29 when she
fell while trying to apprehend a pit bull terrier who had reportedly
trapped a family inside their home. Home owner Ron Roberts told
Emily Groves of the Norwich Bulletin that the pit bull lunged at
Foss. After she fell, Roberts–who has three dogs himself–shot the
pit bull with a .22 rifle. The wounded dog returned to the home of
distant neighbor David Coombs the next morning. Coombs told police
he shot the pit bull dead and buried the remains about four miles

Ram Kumar Adivasi, 40, a forest guard at the Palpur Kuno
Wildlife Sanctuary in western Madhya Pradesh, India, on September
30, 2009 responded to gunshots, with two other forest guards, all
unarmed, and found themselves surrounded by a Monghiya poaching
gang. “He warned them of dire consequence by uttering that he could
identify some of them,” reported Raja Chatterjee, secretary of The
Junglees. “That spelled doom on him. While his men were beaten
mercilessly and later fled, one of the gang members pulled the
trigger on his chest at point-blank range.” Adivasi posthumously
received the Junglees’ Green Guard award, as did Palpur Kuno forest
guard Ram Dayal Srivas, who was murdered in his sleep by poachers in

Sunil Renade, 37, died on October 24, 2009 from a bite by
a cobra he had rescued earlier in the day. An inspector for the
Bombay SPCA since 1994, Renade lived on the premises with his wife
and daughters, ages 10 and 3. “He was an expert on reptiles,
especially snakes. He even had emergency vaccines and a pump to
remove poison at his home. Despite all precautions, he met his
end,” said Bombay SPCA chief executive Colonel J.C. Kanna, who
pledged that the society “would provide all necessary assistance to
his surviving family members.” Other Mumbai animal charities
promised to assist. Renade was especially known for rescuing nearly
100 snakes who were stranded in Mumbai by flash flooding on July 26,
2005, returning them to wild habitat outside the city.

Gordon Haber, 67, was killed on October 14, 2009 when the
Cessna 185 he had hired to study wolf trails in Denali National Park,
Alaska, hit a wooded mountainside near the East Fork of the Toklat
River. Pilot Daniel McGregor said he was uncertain whether Haber
survived the impact, and was unable to drag him out of the wreckage
before it burst into flames. McGregor, badly burned, hiked 15
miles before meeting New Hampshire student film makers Nick Rodrick,
19, and Jesse Hoagland, 20, at the Igloo Creek campground. The
last campers left in the six million-acre park after the close of the
visitors season, Rodrick and Hoagland helped McGregor hike another
five miles to their car, and drove him to the headquarters of Denali
Air. An air ambulance flew McGregor to Seattle for treatment. Haber
had studied the Denali wolves since 1966, summering in a cabin near
the park, wintering in Anchorage. Initially a part-time employee of
the National Park Service, Haber was for his last 17 years a
consultant for Friends of Animals, contributing research to ongoing
efforts to stop predator culling. Investigating rural Alaskan claims
that caribou were scarce due to wolf predation, Haber in March 1997
found a radio-collared wolf caught among four caribou who had
previously died in snares at the same site. Haber videotaped the
scene and tried unsuccessfully to get the Alaska Department of Fish
and Game to charge trapper Eugene Johnson, of Tok, with illegally
killing the caribou. Haber returned later and released the wolf
after the agency refused to act. The wolf was found three weeks
later, 20 miles away, suffering from an infected wound from the
snare, and bled to death after state and federal biologists
reportedly used a jackknife to amputate the injured paw. A Tok jury
in July 2000 ordered FoA to pay Johnson $150,000 and ordered Haber to
pay Johnson $40,000. The Alaska Supreme Court in March 2003 refused
to review the the verdict.

Gerda M. Deterer, 68, founder of Wildlife Rescue in
Hampstead, Maryland, died of cancer on October 2, 2009. Born
Gerda Reuss and raised in Bad Kissingen, Germany, she emigrated to
Baltimore in 1960. She met hunter and meatpacking plant worker
William Deterer in 1963, but did not marry him until he quit hunting
in 1984. They had already cofounded Wild Bird Rescue about five
years earlier. In 1994 they expanded it into Wildlife Rescue. Today
about 80 trained volunteers respond to more than 2,000 wildlife
emergencies per year. William Deterer died in December 2007.

Taylor Josephine Stephanie Luciow, 19, a Toronto
folksinger/songwriter known professionally as Taylor Mitchell, died
on October 28, 2009 in Halifax, after an emergency airlift from
Chetikamp, Nova Scotia. Hiking alone on the Skyline Trail in Cape
Breton Highlands National Park on October 27, Mitchell was mauled by
as many as six coyotes. Hearing Mitchell scream, other hikers
chased away the coyotes and called for help, but she was already in
critical condition when Royal Canadian Mounted Police
officers–already in the area–arrived minutes later. Two coyotes
were shot at the scene. One died and was sent for necropsy. The
other escaped. Mitchell was only the second human on record to be
killed by wild coyotes, and the first adult. The only other human
victim was a three-year-old who was attacked by a coyote in 1981 in
Glendale, California. However, a teenaged girl was bitten on the
arm by a coyote on the Skyline Trail in 2003, and another teenaged
girl was attacked by a coyote in the trail parking lot in 1988.
Biologists are investigating whether the coyotes–who hunt moose in
the Cape Breton region-might actually be coyote/wolf or coyote/dog
hybrids, Project Coyote founder Camilla Fox told ANIMAL PEOPLE.
“Data collected by Michael W. Fox–Camilla’s father and my
mentor–showed that captive first generation coyote/dog hybrids often
showed aberrant behavior, and I saw some of this first hand,” said
ethologist Marc Bekoff. Mitchell was in Cape Breton on a three-week
tour to promote her first recording, after being nominated for a
2009 Canadian Folk Music Award in the Young Performer of the Year
category. “There are no words to describe my grief,” said her
mother, Emily Mitchell, in a written statement. “Taylor was my
shining light, my baby, my confidante and best friend,” but
instead of dwelling on her grief, Emily Mitchell appealed for the
coyotes who killed her daughter to be spared. “I want people to know
that Taylor was a seasoned naturalist and well-versed in wilderness
camping,” Emily Mitchell said. “She loved the woods and had a deep
affinity for their beauty and serenity. We take a calculated risk
when spending time in nature’s fold–it’s the wildlife’s terrain.
When the decision was made to kill the pack of coyotes, I clearly
heard Taylor’s voice say, ‘Please don’t, this is their space.’ She
wouldn’t have wanted their demise, especially as a result of her
own. She was passionate about animals, was an environmentalist,
and was also planning to volunteer at the Toronto Wildlife Centre in
the coming months.”

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