Skip Trimble, 'Godfather of Animal Law' and Texas' top animal advocate, dies
One of Texas' most beloved and effective animal advocates has passed away: Robert Lynn "Skip" Trimble, died on Saturday, June 18 in Dallas; he was 82.
Dubbed the "Godfather of Animal Law," Trimble was nationally known as the force behind many of the animal-friendly legislative initiatives that have been passed in Texas in the past 15 years.
His long list of achievements include helping to found the Texas Humane Legislation Network (THLN), a lobbying group that worked in the Texas legislature to improve the welfare of animals.
That included legislation such as animal-friendly license plates that support spay/neuter programs; the regulation of ownership of exotic animals in Texas; and stronger licensing and regulation of breeders.
Trimble also worked to prohibit the use of carbon monoxide gas to euthanize dogs and cats in Texas shelters, and served on numerous boards such as the Metroplex Animal Coalition and Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF).
He served on the city of Dallas' Animal Advisory Commission twice: first in the 2010s when he was chairperson, and again in 2021, when he was appointed by Mayor Eric Johnson. In that capacity, he helped AAC chair Shelby Bobosky secure the 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 spay/neuter clinic, and in forming the Animal Law Section of the State Bar of Texas.
A lawyer himself, he also helped to establish an Animal Cruelty Prosecutor in the Dallas County District Attorney's Office.
Trimble was a Dallas native who graduated from SMU with an economics degree and a law degree. He worked for the United States Department of Justice and the law firm of Winstead, McGuire, Sechrest and Trimble, before entering the real estate investment business. He started advocating for animals in 1992.
In 2017, he was honored at a tribute after retiring from the THLN board, 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 Lill, Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, and Alex Johnston Fritz, deputy in the Animal Crimes Unit at Denton County Sheriff's Office.
His work was also influential in inspiring other advocates such as Stacy Smith, executive director of Humane Tomorrow, a rescue organization and shelter based in Argyle.
"Skip was a giant," Smith says. "Every once in a while I start to think about getting out of rescue because it's taken so many years off my life — but then I think about Skip and hope I can live up to the remarkable example he set."
PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk called him a "powerhouse," saying that "Skip was a true friend to 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 rankled to see wild animals exploited, animals kept in laboratories, and killed for a fleeting taste. We will sorely miss him and everyone here at PETA sends our deepest condolences to all who loved and knew him, particularly his wife, Mary."
Cile Holloway served as THLN's Board President for more than 40 years and 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 hopefully we will all strive everyday to be as effective as he was."
Trimble's full obituary, written by his wife Mary, is online. A memorial service will be held on June 29, 2022 at 2 pm at the Holy Covenant United Methodist Church located at 1901 E. Peters Colony Rd, Carrollton.