Pat Derby, the animal rights activist famous for her work training animals for iconic television shows and commercials during the 1960s and 1970s, died Friday at her ARK 2000 animal sanctuary in San Andreas, California after a two-year battle with throat cancer. She was 69. During her career as a trainer, she worked with elephants, tigers, and animals for shows like Lassie, Flipper and Gunsmoke, developing methods based on trust between animals and their trainer, instead of fear. She shocked the entertainment world in 1976 with her memoir The Lady and Her Tiger, which detailed widespread abuse of performance animals in the film and television industry. Derby became a vocal advocate for reform and legislation protecting animals in entertainment, establishing the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) in 1984. PAWS would eventually found three wildlife sanctuaries for abandoned and abused animals, including the 2,000 acre ARK 2000 facility, the first elephant sanctuary in the United States. She is survived by her partner and PAWS co-founder Ed Stewart.
R.I.P. Pat Derby
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