PETA praises the late Bea Arthur

Bea Arthur

, who died on Saturday, came kind words from the folks at animal rights group People for The Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

Arthur put her love for animals to hard work, campaigning for many PETA issues and becoming an honorary director for the group for more than 20 years. Earlier this week the group planted memorial roses for the late actress at PETA's Bea Arthur Dog Park, which opened next to the group's Norfolk, Va. headquarters in 2006.

Arthur joined PETA in 1987 after "The Golden Girls" did an anti-fur episode and Arthur,

Rue McClanahan
Betty White

filmed a PETA anti-fur public service announcement on the set of the show.

PETA received thousands of fur coats that were donated by former fur-wearers after Arthur ran ads - including in the playbill for the Norfolk Opera House - asking people to cast off their coats.

She campaigned against the force-feeding of ducks in the foie gras trade, traveling to London with PETA founder

Ingrid E. Newkirk

, where she called on Harrods bosses to stop selling the pate.

She spoke out against animal experimentation and abuse of factory farm animals and opposed the use of exotic animals in circuses.

"We have lost one of the greatest comic actors of all time, and animals have lost a great defender," said PETA's executive vice president

Tracy Reiman