Obituaries

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  October 2013: (Actually published on November 20,  2013.)

Obituaries

“I come to bury Caesar,  not to praise him.   The evil men do lives after them.   The good is oft interred with their bones.”   ––William Shakespeare

Patricia Ritz,  67,  is believed to have been eaten by some of the 50-odd wolf hybrids she kept at her rural home near Fordsville in Ohio County,  Kentucky.  Investigating a neighbor’s report that Ritz had not been seen in several days,  Ohio County sheriff’s deputies found only a skull and jawbone believed to be hers.  The wolf hybrids had apparently not been given food or water in some time.  Ohio County Animal Control,  Adopt-A-Husky,  and Roby’s Hybrid Wolf Fund took custody of the wolf hybrids,  29 of whom were later moved by Animal Rescue Corps to a warehouse in Lebanon,  Tennessee that already housed about 100 dogs and two parrots,  according to Brian Wilson of the Nashville Tennessean.  Ritz reportedly was charged with mass neglect of dogs in 1986,  1987,  1991,  1997,  1999,  and 2002,  was convicted five times,  and was not prosecuted in the 1991 case after promising she would not again take dogs into Indiana. John C. New Jr.,  65,  died of a sudden heart attack on October 15,  2013.   Originally from Little Rock,  Arkansas,  New earned his veterinary degree from the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine in 1970,  served as a captain in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps.,  obtained a masters degree in public health from the University of Minnesota,  and joined the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine faculty in 1977,  where he spent the rest of his life.   New either founded or cofounded the UTCVM Veterinary Public Health Program,  the Human Animal Bond In Tennessee animal-assisted therapy program,  Vets for Pets of Homeless People,  and Companion Animal Initiative in Tennessee.   Working on behalf of the National Council on Pet Population Study & Policy,  New co-authored seven influential studies on dog and cat birth rates and the various factors involved in pet relinquishment,  published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science between 1998 and 2002.

Kevin Wright,  DVM,  50,  of Mesa,  Arizona,  died after a brief illness on September 26,  2013.  A 1988 graduate of the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, Wright worked for the Philadelphia,  Miami,  Phoenix, and National zoos before cofounding the Arizona Exotic Animal Hospital in 2008.  He left the hospital practice in 2012 to start Wright Bird & Exotic Pet House Calls. Credited with writing more than 300 articles on exotic pet medicine,  Wright co-authored the manual Amphibian Medicine and Captive Husbandry in 2001.

Avedis Ghazarian,  46,  a Bucharest economist active in animal welfare,  reportedly died of heart failure on October 24,  2013 after lobbying unsuccessfully against ratification of a new Romanian law that allows pounds to kill dogs after a two-week holding period.

Iris Gallegos,  62,  died on November 6,  2013 in Lussac-Les-Eglises,  France,  after a five-year battle against breast cancer.  Gallegos circa 2002 founded the Bright Eyes Society in Marbella,  Spain,  initially to transport rescued Spanish street dogs to other European nations for adoption.  With a Dutch husband,  Frans Koene,  and a Danish e-mail address,  Gallegos started out with an international perspective and multilingual capabilities,  and soon expanded her work into rallying activists outside of Spain against bullfighting,  abuse of animals practiced as part of Spanish village festivals,  hare coursing,  greyhound racing,  and any other cruelties that came to her notice.  In turn,  she helped Spanish activists to address cruelty outside of Spain.

Sue Brown,  65,  founder and president of the Little Victories Animal Shelter in Huntington,  West Virginia,  died on October 21,  2013 after a six-month struggle with pancreatic cancer.  Housing about 200 dogs and cats,  the no-kill shelter opened in 2003.  Little Victories previously operated as a fostering network.

Sarah Jane Orton,  5,  of Finksburg,  Maryland,  died from a sudden illness on October 10,  2013.  For her fifth birthday,  on May 15,  2013,  she had requested that all gifts be given to the Baltimore Humane Society.  Her dog Scooter had been adopted from the Baltimore Humane Society before she was born.

Kevin Johnson,  59,  a plant nursery worker in Puckeridge,  Stevenage,  Hertfordshire,  England,   was on October 16,  2013 acknowledged for bequeathing his entire estate––worth £364,569 ––to Friends of the RSPCA Southridge,  Potters Bar.   Johnson died of a heart attack two months after the death of his German shepherd Chelsea,  who was adopted from the RSPCA Southridge.

Patti Scheimer Bednarik,  56,  of Enola,  Pennsylvania,  died of ovarian cancer on October 26.  A former prosecuting attorney in Alleghany County and for the Disciplinary Counsel of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court,  Bednarik was founder and first chair of the Animal Law Committee of the Pennsylvania Bar Association,  taught animal law at Pennsylvania State University at Dickinson,  and as a member of the state Dog Law Advisory Board,  appointed by Governor Edward Rendell in 2005,  helped to rewrite the regulations for dog breeders.

Renee Radizwon-Chapman,  36,  was killed on November 9,  2013 in a cage containing two pumas while working alone at the Wildcat Haven Sanctuary near Sherwood,  Oregon.  Housing about 60 wild and exotic cats,  the sanctuary was founded by Michael and Cheryl Tuller in 2001.  Radizwon-Chapman had been the Wildcat Haven Sanctuary head keeper for about eight years.  Her husband Aaron Chapman is a Wildcat Haven volunteer.

Martin Hammerstein,  56,  a senior keeper at the Allwetter Zoo in Munster,  Germany,  was killed on September 13,  2013 by a 10-year-old Siberian tiger named Rasputin.  Hammerstein reportedly forgot to lock Rasputin behind a gate before turning his back to put down food for the tiger.

Nate Lewandowski,  36,  of Elmhurst,  Delaware,   on November 9,  2013 escaped from his burning home but was killed when he returned inside to try to rescue his two pit bulls and their six puppies.  The mother pit bull survived.

John Phillip Bradford,  62,  elephant manager at the Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield,  Missouri,  was killed on October 10,  2013 by a 41-year-old female Asian elephant named Patience.  Patience,  at the zoo since 1990,  had an “aggressive history,”  zoo spokesperson Cora Scott told Jonathan Shorman of the Springfield News-Leader.  Patience was reportedly walking through a chute toward her breakfast when Bradford leaned into the chute.  Bradford had worked for the zoo for 30 years.  The incident came five days after the Dickinson Park Zoo euthanized Pinky,  50,  the reputed matriarch of the Evansville elephant herd,  due to incurable and painful kidney disease.

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