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Lassie/Flipper Trainer Passes Away

| Filed under: R.I.P.

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Sad news today.

Pat Derby, noted animal rights activist, has passed away from throat cancer at the age of 69.

Derby worked with elephants, tigers, and animals for shows like Lassie, Flipper and Gunsmoke.

She changed the way Hollywood treated its animals by installing trust in her animal counterparts instead of fear.

In her memoir The Lady and Her Tiger she wrote:

"It had to begin with elephants. I was born in love with all elephants: not for a reason that I know, not because of any of their individual qualities, - wisdom, kindness, power, grace, patience, loyalty but for what they are altogether, for their entire elephantness."

She established the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) which found three wildlife sanctuaries for abandoned and abused animals including the first elephant sanctuary in the United States.

PAWS issued a statement that read:

"Pat Derby was a partner, leader, mentor, teacher and friend. She was the first to champion the cause of performing animals, and today, because of her work and her fierce determination, most animal protection organizations have captive wildlife programs that address the issues of performing animals."

The world lost a vital lady today and our condolences to anyone who personally knew this extraordinary woman.

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