From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 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
Peter Falk, 82, died on June 23, 2011. Born in New York City, Falk was introduced to acting at age 12 by Camp High Point counselor Ross Martin, who also went on to Hollywood success. After World War II duty in the U.S. Merchant Marine, and a six-month stint as a railroad worker in Yugoslavia, Falk earned a Master of Public Administration degree and became a management analyst with the Connecticut State Budget Bureau in Hartford. After hours he acted at a local community theatre and took acting classes. Falk was nearly 30 before acting professionally, and his first professional stage appearance was in a play that closed after just one performance, but within the year he landed his first Broadway role, and by 1958 was getting small film parts. His 1960 performance in Murder, Inc. won an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Falk rose to stardom playing a variety of roles, but is best remembered for playing the detective Columbo in made-for-TV films produced between 1968 and 2003, and in the 1971-1978 television series Columbo. “Falk generously donated his time to help animals by supporting In Defense of Animals’ Guardian Campaign, to convince people that the word ‘guardian’ is a more appropriate word than ‘owner’ to describe our relationship with animals,” recalled In Defense of Animals founder Elliot Katz. “In IDA’s 30-second ‘Be A Guardian: Adopt and Save A Life’ public service announcement,” Katz contined, “Falk and his wife Shera Danese appear with world-renowned primatologist Jane Goodall, and actors Wendie Malick and Kristen Bell. They urge people to save animal lives by adopting from shelters, and to always act as guardians of animals, not owners. Falk and his late wife were passionate about rescuing dogs,” Katz said, “and lived with rescued shelter dogs.”
Edward Gardner, 38, of Naperville, Illinois, was killed by an airport limousine on May 30, 2011 while trying to shoo a family of ducklings off the roadway near the O’Hare Oasis at Schiller Park. Gardner apparently did not use his vehicle to block oncoming traffic.[For more on this, please click here.]
Anne Fitzgerald, a cofounder of the Cork Animal Care Society in October 2000, died on June 20, 2011 in Cork, Ireland. “There was never a time,” recalled Animal Rights Action Network founder John Carmody, of Limerick, “when she would not go out of her way to attend our demonstrations, regardless where they were held. I have many fond memories of Anne,” including “speaking for many an hour on the phone almost every week. Anne’s life was completely focused around saving the lives of cats and kittens,” Carmody said, “and educating about the importance of spaying and neutering.”
Jane Dollar, 99, died on June 13, 2011. Dollar in 1982 founded Pet Partners of Victor Valley, a cat-and-dog sterilization program funded by a thrift store, and remained actively involved with it to the end of her life. Earlier, Victorville Daily Press staff writer Natasha Lindstrom wrote in 2008, Dollar “served First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt as aide-de-camp, and served injured soldiers in World War II and the Korean War as a registered nurse.” Dollar was active in many other organizations, including board service for the Victor Valley Animal Protective League.
Bill Haast, 100, died on June 15, 2011, at his home in Punta Gorda, Florida. Born in Paterson, New Jersey, Haast began catching snakes at age seven, and began keeping venomous snakes at age 12. He admitted to the Miami Herald in 1984 that he found the deaths of the mice he fed the snakes “intriguing.” Recalled New York Times obituarist Douglas Martin, “Dropping out of school at 16, he joined a roadside snake show that made its way to Florida in the late 1920s. The snake attraction soon failed, so Haast went to work for a bootlegger. The bootlegger was arrested, and Haast found his way to an airline mechanics school. Finding a job as a flight engineer with Pan American World Airways, he began traveling around the world. That gave him a chance to use his toolbox to smuggle snakes.” Haast opened the Miami Serpentarium in 1947, a tourist attraction which “attracted 50,000 tourists a year for four decades,” Martin wrote. From that, Haast spun off Miami Serpentarium Laboratories, a leading producer of antivenins. “Haast was bitten at least 173 times by poisonous snakes, about 20 times almost fatally,” Martin reported. Haast attributed his survival and general good health to “injecting himself every day for more than 60 years with a mix of venoms from 32 snake species.” However, the Food & Drug Administration in 1980 banned a snake venom product that Haast marketed as a treatment for multiple sclerosis and arthritis.
Penny Murphy, 62, died on May 17, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Born Penny Herrman, “She wanted to be a vet,” her daughter Michelle Murphy of Aurora told Virginia Culver of the Denver Post. Instead, Penny Murphy became a wildlife rehabilitator, founding the nonprofit Urban Wildlife Rescue service with her husband Jack Murphy. Urban Wildlife Rescue has answered calls about “nuisance” and injured wildlife since 1994.
Sam Mazzola, 49, was found dead from suspected “positional asphixia,” lying face down on his waterbed in Columbia Township, Lorain County, Ohio. Mazzola circa 1986 started a traveling barroom bear wrestling act. The act briefly disappeared after Mazzola was sent to Ohio state prison in 1990 for alleged cocaine trafficking. Between 1994 and 1998 the act was closed or prohibited by authorities in Ohio, Michigan, New York, Ontario, and Manitoba. In 2008 the USDA took away Mazzola’s exhibiton license and fined him $14,000 for allegedly not permitting inspections and threatening officials. In September 2009 Mazzola “pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to two federal criminal charges of exhibiting and selling exotic animals without a license. He was sentenced to three years probation and ordered to do community service,” reported Amanda Garrett of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. On August 20, 2010 one of Mazzola’s nine bears killed Brent Kandra, 24, a six-year employee at Mazzola’s 17-acre compound. The bear was reportedly not one used in the wrestling shows. “Family members at the scene told Fox 8 News that Mazzola had contingency plans to place his animals at farms and shelters in the event that he died,” said Fox 8 reporter Lindsay Buckingham. “At the time of his death, Mazzola housed bears, tigers, hybrid wolves and several cats and dogs on his property.”
Daniel Hamilton, 21, a senior at the Perdue University College of Agriculture, died from heat stroke on June 6, 2011 during a volunteer stint with the Blue Iguana Recovery Program on Grand Cayman Island.
Travis Bradley, 36, a four-year animal control officer in Boonville, Missouri, died on May 21, 2011 of a seizure suffered in his sleep. The city of Boonville plans to rename a newly opened off-leash dog park in his honor, the Boonville Daily News reported.
Sujata Gogoi, 47, died on June 15, 2011 in Guwahati, India. The wife of Assam State Zoo veterinarian Bijoy Gogoi, Sujata Gogoi had served successfully as foster mother for barking deer, jungle cats, civets, leopards, and a female stumptailed macaque who was only four days old when the macaque’s mother died.
Rachel Markham, 33, daughter of Joplin Humane Society executive director Karen Aquino, was among at least 142 people who were killed by the May 22, 2011 Joplin tornado, the deadliest to hit the U.S. in at least 30 years. Markham was five months pregnant. Aquino remained on the job to help more than 900 animals who were displaced or injured. The American SPCA granted $100,000 to the Joplin Humane Society in Markham’s memory. Altogether, the ASPCA contributed funding to aid more than 6,600 animals who received humane societ