Skip Trimble, ‘godfather of animal law’ and top Texas advocate, dies

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One of Texas’ most beloved and effective animal advocates has passed away: Robert Lynn “Skip” Trimble, who died Saturday, June 18 in Dallas; he was 82 years old.

Dubbed the “Godfather of Animal Law,” Trimble was nationally known as the force behind many animal-friendly legislative initiatives that have been passed in Texas over the past 15 years.

His long list of accomplishments includes his contributions to founding the Texas Humane Legislation Network (THLN), an advocacy group that worked within the Texas legislature to improve animal welfare.

This included laws such as animal-friendly license plates that support sterilization programs; the regulation of exotic pet ownership in Texas; and stronger licensing and regulation of breeders.

Trimble has also worked to ban the use of carbon monoxide to euthanize dogs and cats in Texas shelters, and has served on numerous boards such as the Metroplex Animal Coalition and the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF).

He served on the City of Dallas Animal Advisory Board twice: first in the 2010s when he was president, then again in 2021, when he was nominated by Mayor Eric Johnson. In that capacity, he helped secure passage of the Humane Pet Store Ordinance, which the Dallas City Council approved in May.

He was instrumental in obtaining financial support from the city of Dallas to build a low-cost spaying clinic and in forming the Animal Law Section of the State Bar of Texas.

He also helped establish an animal cruelty prosecutor in the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office.

In 2017, he was honored at a tribute after retiring from the THLN Board of Directors, an event that drew advocates and politicians from across Texas, including Rep. Rodney Anderson, Rep. Cindy Burkett , Dallas County Commissioner Elba Garcia, former Dallas City Council member Veletta Forsyth. Dallas County Sheriff Lill, Lupe Valdez, and Denton County Sheriff’s Office Animal Crimes Unit Deputy Alex Johnston Fritz.

Her work has also been influential in inspiring other advocates such as Stacy Smith, executive director of Humane Tomorrow, an Argyle-based rescue organization and shelter that rescues unwanted and abused animals in North Texas, as well as sterilization counseling and education programs.

“Skip was a giant, Smith says. “Once in a while I start thinking about getting out of rescue because it took me so many years of life – but then I think of Skip and hope I can live up to the shining example which he gave.”

PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk called him a “powerhouse”, saying “Skip was a true friend of animals and at PETA we loved and respected him for all he did for them, opening his heart and his home. He was a powerhouse on strategy and legislation to protect them and was angered to see wild animals exploited, animals kept in labs and killed for fleeting taste. He will be sorely missed and all everyone here at PETA sends its deepest condolences to everyone who loved and knew him, especially his wife, Marie.”

Cile Holloway served as Chairman of the Board of THLN for over 40 years and has worked with Trimble on many initiatives.

“Skip was the kindest, most effective animal advocate I’ve ever worked with,” Holloway said. “He did his homework, covered all the bases and had enough knowledge and compassion to convince any jury, committee or council what the right answer was. There will never be another Skip Trimble, but I hope we all strive every day to be as efficient as he was.”

A memorial service will be held on June 29, 2022 at Holy Covenant United Methodist Church located at 1901 E. Peters Colony Rd, Carrollton.

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