Obituaries [March 2011]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 2011:

“I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do
lives after them. The good is oft interred with their bones.”
–William Shakespeare
Dick King-Smith, 88, died in his sleep on January 4, 2011
at his home near Bath, England. Smith turned to writing after World
War II military service, 20 years of farming, stints selling
firefighting equipment and working in a shoe factory, and finally
teaching, after he completed a degree in education at Bristol
University at age 53 in 1975. King-Smith’s first of more than 100
books, The Fox Busters, appeared in 1978. Concerning three
chickens who repeatedly foil the efforts of foxes to eat them, The
Fox Busters inspired a 26-episode Cosgrove Hall animated TV series of
the same name, aired in 1999-2000. King-Smith’s books, mostly
about talking animals, sold more than 15 million copies in all. The


Water Horse (1990) became a 2007 feature film starring Emily Watson
and David Morrissey. The Queen’s Nose (1995), about a girl who
loves animals but is not allowed to have a pet, became a BBC
television series aired in 1995-1998. Other successes were Harriet’s
Hare (1994) and The Invisible Dog (1995). But King-Smith’s biggest
hit, by far, was The Sheep-Pig (1983), retitled Babe: The
Gallant Pig when republished in the U.S. two years later. “It’s the
story of a piglet who is won at a fair by a sheep farmer and adopted
by the farm’s mother sheepdog, Fly. Trained to herd sheep by Fly,
the polite Babe puts his own spin on getting sheep to obey,”
summarized Dennis McLellan of the Los Angeles Times. Babe was made
into a 1995 hit film by Australian screenwriter/producer George
Miller and director Chris Noonan. Starring James Cromwell as Farmer
Hoggett, Babe was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including
best picture, and won an Oscar for best visual effects. Cromwell
subsequently became a vegetarian and a prominent animal advocate.
Robin Suzanne Kinman, 51, of Conyers, Georgia, died on
February 1, 2011. An American Kennel Club judge of German shepherds
and former animal control officer in Dekalb County, Georgia,
“Suzanne will be remembered for her pioneering work in Dekalb County
mandating that no animal be released from animal control unless
neutered, and for planning for animals in disaster. She testified
on many occasions at the Georgia state capitol for animal
legislation. Her professionalism brought credibility to our cause,”
wrote Humane Association of Georgia director Carolyn Danese.
Richard H. Greene, Sr., DVM, 70, died on February 13,
2011 in Marietta, Georgia. Greene worked with Cobb County Animal
Control for more than 25 years, recalled Humane Association of
Georgia director Carolyn Danese. Practicing in Americus until 1984,
Greene later co-owned the Twilley-Greene Animal Clinic in Marietta.
Gertrude Maxwell, 99, died on January 17, 2011 in West
Palm Beach, Florida. Maxwell in 1972 founded the no-kill Save-A-Pet
adoption shelter in Highland Park, Illinois. She relocated to
Florida when her first husband, real estate investor Mark Maxwell,
retired in 1978, but remained active in promoting neuter/return of
feral cats, sterilizing pets, and no-kill sheltering to the end of
her life. Save-A-Pet, now in Grayslake, is now a
$2-million-a-year organization which has rehomed more than 70,000
dogs and cats, currently rehoming about 1,500 per year.
William Thomas Warden, 75, died on January 10, 2011 in
Victoria, British Columbia. A career diplomat and international
election observer for the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs,
Warden later founded and directed the International Centre at the
University of Calgary. Best known as a human rights advocate,
Warden was also an animal advocate who donated to the Visakha SPCA in
Visakhapatnam, India, and encouraged his daughter Lisa Warden to
fight animal abuse in India and Vietnam. Her most prominent
campaigns have pushed for reform at the 104-year-old Kakinada SPCA
and in the allocation and management of animal control and Animal
Birth Control program contracts in Ahmedabad.
Thomas Van Cise, DVM, 60, of Corona, California, died
on December 30, 2010 from a heart attack. Receiving his veterinary
degree from Purdue University in Ohio in 1974, Van Cise purchased
the All Animals Exotic or Small clinic in Norco, California in 1981.
Van Cise became nationally known for practicing veterinary
homeopathy, acupuncture, and various other alternative treatments.
J. Lindsay Oaks, 51, died on January 15, 2011. A
Washington State University microbiologist who frequently worked with
the Peregrine Fund, Oaks in January 2003 identified the
anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac as the cause of the loss over the
preceding 10 years of more than 95% of the once common Oriental
white-backed vulture, and similar declines in the populations of
long-billed and slender-billed vultures. The source of exposure
turned out to be Indian and Pakistani farmers who use diclofenac to
keep lame oxen, buffalo, and equines on the job pulling carts and
plows. When the animals die, their carcasses are left for
scavengers. While residual diclofenac does not seem to harm dogs or
jackals, cumulative exposure causes kidney falure in vultures.
Slightly more than 11% of the carcasses of working animals tested
proved to contain diclofenac. Based on these studies, the Government
of India banned the use and production of the veterinary painkiller
through an order of the Drug Controller General in May 2006. “In
August 2008,” recalled The Hindu, “a directive was issued by the
Drug Controller [of India] to make human painkiller manufacturers
label their products with the warning, ‘Not for veterinary use.'”
However, diclofenac is still commonly used in working animals, and
vultures of all Asian species are still declining.

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