In Va’eschanan Hashem command us not to make animal, birds and fish images. My mother in law z’l left some Swaroski figurines in the form of penguins and other animals. My wife took some of them. Are we allow to have them or have benefit (sell them or give away to a non Jew) from them or is it better to just throw them away?
You may keep the figurines, because they are there only for beauty sake and not with any intent to worship them. What the Torah commanded us not to make is images of animals etc. with that were made with the intention of being it being worshipped.
There is another prohibition not to make images, even if they are not for the intention of worship, however that only applies to only applies to celestial beings i.e. the sun, moon, stars, people, idols, or other objects that people worship. Since people don’t worship these animals, it is permitted to make or keep such images, as they are not avoda zara related.
Mordechai Avoda Zara 840:page 84, Shulchan Aruch 141:6, Divrei Malkiel 6:2:3.