Obituaries

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  September 2012:

“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
Sabrina Yeap, 49, died of leukemia on July 17, 2012 in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.  “Yeap, who was orphaned when she was just a month old after her parents died in a car accident, did not have a single relative in Malaysia.  Her doctor father and her mother had eloped to Malaysia from China and lost touch with their families,” wrote Wani Muthiah of The Star of Malaysia.  “Yeap grew up in a temple and her 200-odd dogs, 150 cats and countless loyal friends were her only family,” Muthiah added. Yeap became an inspector for the Selangor SPCA, introduced the Animals Asia Foundation’s Dr. Dog program to Malaysia, and founded the Furry Friends Farm sanctuary in 2006.  Yeap also helped others to start programs, including Suzana Suliaman of Stray Cats Rescue And Treatment Community in Penang, and Irene Low of Malaysian Dogs Deserve Better, who recalled to Muthiah that Yeap in 2008 donated 50 bags of dog food and paid off the organization’s veterinary debts.

Yeap in April 2009 learned that residents of Palau Ketam, a remote island in the Straits of Malacca,  had a month earlier marooned 300 to 400 stray dogs on even more remote and desolate Pulau Selat Kering island.   Their plight became known when two dogs named Hitam and Kuning swam to the nearest kelong, or fishing platform, where the fishing crew adopted them.  Yeap coordinated the ensuing  international rescue effort, featured on page one of the June 2009 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE.  Hitam and Kuning “volunteered” to help, swimming to back to Pulau Selat Kering to lead other dogs out of the mangrove swamp to be captured.  Between missions, Hitam and Kuning kept a lookout at the kelong where the rescued dogs were held temporarily to spot any other dogs who were trying to save themselves.  A photo sequence at the Furry Friends Farm web site shows them noticing a refugee dog named Grace at sea, greeting her as she struggled aboard the kelong, and leading her to food.  Hitam unfortunately was poisoned in October 2009.  Furry Friends Farm is to continue under a committee of 10 volunteers who have formed an emergency board and begun the necessary reincorporation.

Rita Miljo, 81, and three rescued baboons died on July 27, 2012 in a fire at her home on the premises of the Centre for Animal Rehabilitation and Education, a sanctuary in Limpopo province, South Africa, which currently houses about 500 baboons.  “Born in Germany,” recalled International Primate Protection League founder Shirley McGreal, “she moved to South Africa in the 1950s and overcame the deaths of her husband and teenaged daughter in the 1970s,” in a light plane crash.  “Nine years after she rescued her first baboon, Bobbie, in 1980,” who was among the baboons who died with Miljo, “she established a sanctuary to protect baboons, who could be legally shot,  poisoned,  and so forth under the South African ‘vermin laws.'”

Added Chris Mercer and Bev Pervan of the Campaign Against Canned Hunting, “Contrary to conservation dogma, which insisted hat it could not be done, she pioneered the release of baboon troops back to the wild.  Even Nelson Mandela attended one of her baboon troop releases.”

Finished McGreal,  “CARE has been on IPPl’s small grant program for years.  Our last project was getting a borehole drilled so the baboons could get clean water.  This really cut down on intestinal parasites.  Rita spoke at our 2006 conference and everyone loved her.  She had a mortal fear of fire and wanted to be buried, as she was not sure that cremation wouldn’t hurt a dead person.”

Dan R. Salden, 71, died on July 18, 2012 in Edwardsville, Illinois.  A professor at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, Salden took up marine mammal research in 1978. He co-founded the Hawaii Whale Research Foundation in 1987, and devoted several years to humpback whale research after retiring in 2000. Ron Taylor, 78, died of cancer on September 10, 2012 in Sydney, Australia.  A competitive spearfisher in his youth, Taylor recalled to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that he had a sudden change of perspective one day in the middle of a spear-fishing contest.  “I just thought, ‘What am I doing down here killing these poor defenseless marine creatures?'”  Taylor said. “So I just packed up, went home-didn’t even weigh my fish in-and never went back to another spearfishing competition.”  Instead, Taylor and his wife Valerie produced several documentaries about sharks,  attracting the attention of film director Steven Spielberg, who hired them to obtain underwater footage of great white sharks for use in the 1975 hit Jaws.  “Andrew Fox, whose father Rodney Fox famously survived a near-fatal great white shark attack in 1963, assisted on the shoot.  Andrew Fox said both he and the Taylors were affected by criticism that the movie reinforced the notion that great whites were death machines,” recalled Kristen Gelineau of Associated Press.  The Taylors and Fox focused their later careers on shark conservation. Marvin Hamlisch, 68, died on August 6, 2012.  Remembered by the world as a composer of songs for hit screen productions,  Hamlisch was remembered by the North Shore Animal League America as a spokesperson for their “Love Needs No Pedigree” campaign to promote adoptions of mixed breed dogs.   Hamlisch in 1994 adopted a Lab mix named Jessey from North Shore.  “Jessey was Marvin’s constant companion, lying beside him at his piano, where he created music that won him three Oscars, four Emmys, a Tony, two Golden Globes, a Pulitzer music award, and more,” recalled a North Shore memorial statement. Princess Lalla Amina of Morocco, 58, died on August 16, 2012.  She had been president of the Fédération Royale Marocaine des Sports Equestres since 1999, and was a patron of the American Fondouk equine aid program founded in Fez, Morocco in 1927 by Amy Bend Bishop, funded by her estate and that of her mother, administered by the Massachusetts SPCA. Steve McSweeney, 83, died on July 23, 2012 in Great Falls, Montana.  A lifelong resident of nearby Fort Benton, McSweeney was the primary feeder and caretaker of Shep, a mangy and none too friendly sheep dog.

“According to historians from the Overholser Historical Research Center,” recalled David Murray of the Great Falls Tribune,  “Shep first appeared in Fort Benton in August 1936 with an area sheepherder whose name has been lost to history, who was brought mortally ill to the St. Clare Hospital.  After the sheepherder passed, his body was sent by train to his family back east.  Shep for the next five and a half years lived under the platform of the Fort Benton train station, patiently waiting for his long dead master to return.”  Eventually railway conductor Ed Shields published Shep’s story as a pamphlet and sold copies to benefit the Montana School for the Deaf and Blind.  Shep was then featured by the syndicated newspaper feature Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.  Killed by a train in January 1942, Shep was buried by an honor guard of Boy Scouts, following a funeral attended by 200 people.

Karen Goodman, 58, died on September 6, 2012 in Reno, Nevada.  Originally from New York City, Goodman worked in public relations, and was involved in animal advocacy there, especially on behalf of carriage horses,  but emerged as a leader after moving west and volunteering for local humane societies.  “She started out dog-walking,” recalled Doris Day Animal League legislative specialist Beverlee McGrath.  “Her heart went out to dogs who were constantly chained in yards through extreme weather, especially to her neighbor’s dog, who had no bedding and just a makeshift doghouse.

The dog disappeared one morning and Karen always felt that the dog froze to death.  She decided to do something about dog chaining.”  After persuading state senator Randy Townsend to introduce an anti-chaining bill, Goodman lobbied it through to passage.  Goodman also produced public service announcements for the SPCA of Northern Nevada, and just a week before her death helped to publicize abuses that were videotaped during the 2012 Reno Rodeo.

Stephen Watson, 54, brother of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society founder Paul Watson, died on August 29, 2012 in St. Stephen, New Brunswick.  Later a full-time artist, “Stephen worked for years in the food industry as a buyer and what he saw and what he learned converted him to organic veganism,” recalled Paul Watson.  “My brother was devoted to Sea Shepherd and for years hosted fundraisers in Toronto and London, Ontario.  His eldest son Sean first joined the crew of the Sea Shepherd II when he was 14 on our driftnet campaigns.  His youngest daughter Hillary will soon join the crew of the Steve Irwin,”  the flagship for Sea Shepherd confrontations with the Japanese whaling fleet.  “Stephen himself participated in an important but legal secret mission for Sea Shepherd and was instrumental in its success,” Watson added. Rebecca Carey, 23, of Decatur, Georgia, a vet tech trainee at the Loving Hands Animal Clinic in Alpharetta, was found dead at her home on August 13, 2012 from neck and upper torso injuries inflicted by one or more of the five dogs in her care.  Carey was discovered by her friend Jackie Cira, whose Presa Canario Carey was looking after, along with her own Presa Canario, two pit bulls, and a boxer mix. All five dogs were killed by DeKalb County Animal Control.  A volunteer with many organizations, whose photography appeared at the Best Friends Network web site, Carey in May 2012 helped to repeal a DeKalb County ban on possession of pit bulls. Tom Meier, 61, was found dead on August 14, 2012 at his home in McKinley Village, Alaska, after failing to arrive at a wolf seminar at the Murie Science & Learning Center.

Beginning wolf studies in 1976 in Minnesota and Wisconsin, under U.S. Geological Service biologist David Mech, Meier worked at Denali National Park in Alaska from 1986 to 1993, helped to re-introduce wolves to the Yellowstone National Park region from 1996 to 2004,  and spent the rest of his life back at Denali.  He was co-author, with Mech, Layne Adams, and John Burch, of The Wolves of Denali (2003).

Omer Gillham, 53, died on July 9, 2012 at his home in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  An electrician early in life, Gillham earned a journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1992.

After stints with the Ada Evening News, the Daily Ardmorite and the Norman Transcript, Gillham joined the Tulsa World in 1998, where he was lead reporter on half a dozen award-winning investigations, including a series on puppy mills that won a Genesis Award in 2008 from the Humane Society of the U.S. Gillham also investigated dogfighting, rescue transport, and animal aspects of the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.

Donald Cyr, 64, drowned at Hampton Ponds in Westfield, Massachusetts on August 20, 2012, while trying to rescue their West Highland terrier Sadie, and Cyr’s wife Patricia Cyr, 61, drowned while attempting to rescue him.  Sadie survived.  As practically all dogs can swim, at least for short distances, the safe way to rescue a dog who has fallen into water is to extend to the dog a stick, an oar, or an article of clothing that the dog can bite into, and then tow the dog back to the boat, dock, or shore. Law enforcement Rod Lazenby, 63, a retired Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer who had become a bylaw enforcement officer for the Municipal District of Foothills, Alberta, in 2006, was allegedly fatally beaten on August 10, 2012 by dog breeder Trevor Kloschinsky, 46, who reportedly then drove Lazenby to a south Calgary police station.  Kloschinsky was charged with first-degree murder.  Lazenby visited Kloschinsky’s property north of Priddis to check on the care of 30 blue heelers whose barking had occasioned complaints from neighbors.  Alberta SPCA spokesperson Roland Lines told media that the SPCA had been notified in both June and July that the dogs might be impounded, depending on what inspections discovered.  Kloschinsky was evicted in October 2009 from a home in Turner Valley, after barking complaints from neighbors. Alberta Health Services subsequently declared the site unfit for habitation. Donnalynn Schroeder, 51, of Newfoundland, Pennsylvania, died on September 9, 2012, about six hours after she was shot by her husband Bertrand Schroeder, 59, who was charged with criminal homicide and 50 counts of cruelty to animals for alleged neglect of the couple’s 50 beagles.  Bertrand Schroeder reportedly told state police that he accidentally shot his wife after drinking most of a case of beer and then trying to unload one of two rifles she had paid for, to enable him to shoot “rabid” raccoons.  Having a prior assault conviction in New Jersey, Bertrand Schroeder was not legally allowed to have guns.  Schroeder reportedly acknowledged that he had once pointed a gun at his wife during an argument, and that they had argued several hours before the shooting.   The beagles were taken into custody by the Dessin Animal Shelter and the Luzerne County SPCA. Bradley Fox, 35, a K-9 officer in Plymouth Township, Pennsylvania, was shot to death and his dog partner Nick was wounded on September 13, 2012 while responding to a hit-and-run accident.  Suspect Andrew Charles Thomas, 44, of Lower Merion, Pennsylvania, fatally shot himself soon afterward.  Nick the dog is expected to survive. Zoo personnel Ruth Dieckmann, 43, a Koln Zoo tiger keeper since 1990, was killed on August 25, 2012 by Altai, a Siberian tiger, who escaped from his enclosure through an open gate.

Arriving ahead of the city police SWAT team, zoo director Theo Pagel shot Altai.  Dieckmann, among the zoo’s best known staff, had reportedly survived a leopard attack in 2005.  Diekmann’s death came seven weeks after a pack of eight wolves killed a 30-year-old female keeper who had helped to raise them at the Kolmarden Zoo in Sweden.  The pack in 2007 knocked down television personality Arne Weise, and injured visitors in 2010 and in May 2012.

Kushalappa Gowda, 36, a caretaker at the Dr. Shivaram Karanth Pilikula Biological Park in Mangalore, India, bled to death on July 31, 2012 after an attack by Raja, 15, a tiger Gowda had looked after and often played with since 2004.  The tiger, who was reportedly ill,  did not inflict further wounds after an initial pounce, but Gowda was not removed from the tiger’s cage for about an hour,  according to The Hindu. Junaedi, 32, a janitor at the Taman Safari Zoo in Cisarua, Bogor, West Java, was killed by a tiger on August 17, 2012 while trimming grass in the Sumatran tiger compound. Junaedi, who like many Asians used only one name, was apparently unaware of the tiger’s proximity.

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