Pat Derby, Top Animal Trainer Who Worked with Flipper and Lassie
Derby also founded the organization PAWS in an effort to protect performing animals from mistreatment.
Pat Derby, an animal trainer who worked with some of the best known animals in show business, including Flipper the dolphin and Lassie the dog, and founder of the animal-rrescue organization PAWS, died February 15, 2013, at her home in the biggest of the PAWS sanctuaries, or PAWS, in San Andreas, California. She was 69.
According to news reports, the cause was throat cancer.
Derby, a native of England, worked for many years with performing animals on television shows including Flipper, Daktari, Gunsmoke and Lassie. She also tended to a pair of pumas that appeared in a commercial for the Mercury Cougar automobile starring Farrah Fawcett.
She founded PAWS — the Performing Animal Welfare Society — after witnessing abuse among other trainers. Among her other efforts, she fought to get elephants out of circuses and zoos and into sanctuaries.
In 1976 she published an autobiography titled The Lady and Her Tiger, about her work with performing creatures and her attempt to end the abuse that existed.
More about Derby and her work is available at: