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BEAST LOVER ‘Lassie’ and ‘Flipper’ Trainer Dies Pat Derby in 2009. (Rich Pedroncelli/AP)

‘Lassie’ and ‘Flipper’ Trainer Dies

If all dogs go to heaven, Pat Derby has got good company. The famed Hollywood animal trainer who helped shape stars like Flipper and Lassie died from throat cancer at age 69, according to a statement from her organization, the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS). After making a name for herself training animals, Derby shifted her focus to animal protection—a move that stemmed from the animal abuse she witnessed in Hollywood. Most recently, Derby led a fight to get elephants released from circuses and zoos and sent to safe sanctuaries. Her longtime partner, Ed Stewart, was by her side at her death.

February 19, 2013 7:20 AM