Lodinews.com

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

PAWS founder Pat Derby dies of cancer

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2013 1:41 pm

Pat Derby, who founded the PAWS sanctuary for wild animals in the country outside Galt before adding two more sanctuaries, died Friday of throat cancer at her home in San Andreas. She was 69.

Derby and Ed Stewart, her partner of 37 years, founded the Performing Animal Welfare Society in 1984 at their 30-acre animal sanctuary on Simmerhorn Road, east of Highway 99 in Galt.

She and Stewart adopted elephants, bears and other creatures in a peaceful setting where they can live out their remaining years and be rescued from what Derby and Stewart to be abused animals.

Derby was diagnosed with throat cancer in July 2010. She was in remission until she discovered last fall that her cancer had returned, according to an anonymous statement on PAWS website.

“It’s impossible for any of us to imagine life without Pat Derby — PAWS without Pat Derby — but she chose and trained her support team well, and under the leadership of Ed Stewart, Pat’s dreams and visions will be kept alive, her advocacy for animals will continue and PAWS will move forward,” according to the website.

Derby was born on June 7, 1943. She enjoyed a show business career before coming to Gait, according to a biography on the PAWS website. She was an animal trainers for animals that appeared in movies and television commercials.

She trained cougars in the Lincoln Mercury commercials, plus animals in such TV series as Gunsmoke, Lassie, Daktari and Flipper, all from the 1950s and ’60s. It was during this time that Derby witnessed the neglect and abuse prevalent in animal training, according to the PAWS website.

Determined to bring attention to the problem and initiate better standards of care and handling for performing animals, Derby chronicled her adventures in her first book, “The Lady and Her Tiger,” in 1976.

Derby and Stewart spent the next few years promoting the book on The Today Show, The Tonight Show, Merv Griffin talk show h

After creating PAWS in 1984, Derby and Stewart lobbied government officials for legislation to protect animal performers. Derby testified before Congress twice and served on several state committees setting standards for the care and handling of elephants and other exotic species, according to the PAWS website. She was a charter member serving on the California Department of Fish and Game’s Committee for the Humane Care of Captive Wildlife.

PAWS’ three sanctuaries — in Galt, Rancho Seco and San Andreas — cares for more than 100 animals, including elephants, lions, tigers, bears, bobcats, lynx, several, coyotes, leopards, mountain lions, oryx, eland, deer and monkeys.

The Galt sanctuary is on 30 acres, the Amanda Blake (Miss Kitty on the Gunsmoke series) Wildlife Refuge in Rancho Seco is on 100 acres and Ark 2000 in San Andreas is on 2,300 acres.

Although suffering from cancer, Derby wrote a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as recently as Jan. 26, requesting that the African mountain lion be listed on the Endangered Species Act.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

More about

More about

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don't pretend you're someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don't threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don't insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.

Welcome to the discussion.

4 comments:

  • Patrick W Maple posted at 6:41 am on Tue, Feb 19, 2013.

    Pat Maple Posts: 1804

    Ed: My grandmother always said "If you make just one true friend in your lifetime you were a success". For me Pat was a more than that...as she was for her animals. She is probably talking to Amanda and checking on her animals right now!

     
  • Ed Walters posted at 6:49 pm on Mon, Feb 18, 2013.

    the old dog Posts: 353

    Pat : Your family without a doubt miss you, along with your human family. I can only hope the work you started will continue in your name, a job well done and now it`s time to RIP dear lady.

     
  • Roger Cunha posted at 6:44 pm on Mon, Feb 18, 2013.

    rogueanthy Posts: 1

    Heartfelt condolences to her loved ones and friends. She is in Joyous Heaven with all her beloved animal family and friends.

    Thanks Lodi News-Sentinel, for actually posting a photo of this wonderful lady...I could not find one on any other of several news links--some of well known news organizations--and almost gave up until I found your link. Kudos!

     
  • Jackson Scott posted at 12:18 pm on Mon, Feb 18, 2013.

    Jackson Scott Posts: 382

    RIP Pat.

     

Video

Popular Stories

Poll

Should graduations return to the Grape Bowl?

Lodi Unified leaders are moving Lodi and Tokay high school graduations from the Grape Bowl to the Spanos Center at UOP in Stockton. They cite limited seating, costs and unpredictable weather at the Grape Bowl. But others say graduations at the Grape Bowl are an important Lodi tradition, and one reason many supported renovating the stadium. What do you think?

Total Votes: 187

Loading…

Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists