The Arrest of Nico Dauphiné for Attempting to Poison a Colony of Homeless Cats Unmasks the National Zoo as a Hideout for Ailurophobes and Criminals
"We know what she's (Dauphiné) doing would in no way jeopardize our animal collection at the National Zoo or jeopardize wildlife, so we feel perfectly comfortable that she continue her research."
-- Pamela Baker-Masson of the National Zoo
Just as smoke usually is accompanied by fire, there is an inexorable link between the anti-cat screeds of birders and wildlife biologists, their illegal subjugation and abuse of cats as research subjects and, finally, their taking of the law into their own hands. The criminal behavior of Dr. Nico Dauphiné of the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is proof of that.
On May 11th, the high-strutting, big-talking, and self-important Dauphiné was arrested by agents of the Washington Humane Society (WHS) and charged with setting out dishes of food laced with rat poison and antifreeze for intended consumption by a colony of homeless cats residing in idyllic Meridian Hill Park in the Columbia Heights section of the nation's capital.
How long this diabolical monster from the Ivory Towers of academia had been at her deadly game never has been disclosed. Even more disturbingly, it has not been revealed how many cats she may have murdered in Washington and elsewhere. If prior cases of this sort are any guide, there is a good chance that Dauphiné has killed before.
Her trial date has not been announced but it is a foregone conclusion that she will get off with a slap on the wrists thanks to Washington's lenient anti-cruelty statutes under which the severest sentence that she could receive would be a trivial six months in the hoosegow and a minuscule $1,000 fine. Once she lies and kowtows her away out of this jam it is a sure bet that she will resume killing cats in earnest.
The fact that she even was apprehended in the first place is attributable to the diligent and professional police work of the WHS. Alerted to the presence of deadly substances in the cats' food by their dedicated caretakers, the WHS launched a month-long investigation that included not only video surveillance of the park and cats but also matching card swipes of Dauphiné exiting and entering her nearby apartment building.
Being not only a criminal but a lowly coward as well, Dauphiné has denied the charges and now is pretending to be all sugar and spice and everything nice. "Her whole life is devoted to the care and welfare of animals," her unidentified shyster pontificated to ABC News on May 24th. ( See "DC Zoo Employee Denies Charge She Tried to Poison Feral Cats.")
In addition to the incontrovertible evidence amassed against her, Dauphiné also fits the profile of a serial cat killer to a tee. After pocketing a B.A. from Yale, an M.S. from Cornell, and a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia, she snared a sinecure as a postdoctoral fellow at the zoo's Migratory Bird Center. To put it kindly, she is what is known in academic circles as a professional student; to be more accurate, she is a bum and a freeloader who, most likely, never has had a real job in her life.
It would be a mistake, however, to infer that a lifetime spent lounging around college campuses sucking up to her equally mendacious and subservient professors has imbued her with anything remotely approximating a genuine interest in birds. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The only thing that this brainwashed puppet of the schoolmen has learned from a lifetime of lowly, down-at-the-knee apprenticeship is to defame, hate, and kill cats. In fact, the only known piece of writing that she so far has offered to the public is an anti-cat diatribe entitled "Apocalypse Meow: Free-Ranging Cats and the Destruction of American Wildlife."
At long last she finally has been caught committing her dastardly and cowardly crimes and accordingly is destined to spend the remainder of her miserable existence on this earth as a convicted felon. A far more just alternative would be for jurists for once to show some intelligence of their own and accordingly lock her up for life in some hellhole prison where the accommodations are comparable to the oubliettes at the Château d'If; after all, she quite obviously is not only dangerous but crazy as well. No-good rotters like her never amount to a hill of beans in this world.
At the National Zoo, Dauphiné earns her welfare shekels by fitting defenseless cats with video cameras in order to collect data on how many birds and other animals that they kill. "My research focuses on evaluating anthropogenic impacts (including habitat loss, hunting, and invasive species) on wildlife, particularly birds, and developing effective conservation strategies," she blows long and hard on the zoo's web site. "My current project examines predator-prey dynamics in an urban matrix in collaboration with citizen scientists at Neighborhood Nestwatch."
That simply is more of her patented obfuscation of the truth. She and those who employ her hate cats with a passion and the only objective of her so-called research is to produce totally bogus papers which in turn will be used to justify en masse exterminations of the species.
Where she differs from her comrades-in-arms at the unscrupulous United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is that she wants to immediately extend the wholesale slaughter of cats to urban centers whereas they are still groping around for a rationale that will allow them to deploy their death squads in the inner cities and in citizens' back yards. (See Cat Defender posts of June 23, 2011 and June 27, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Wallowing in Welfare Dollars, Lies, and Prejudice, the Bloodthirsty United States Fish and Wildlife Service Is Again Killing Cats in the Florida Keys" and "United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Navy Hatch a Diabolical Plan to Gun Down Two-Hundred Cats on San Nicolas Island.")
Besides, the USFWS has other means at its disposal of getting rid of city cats. (See Cat Defender posts of July 19, 2007 and August 28, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Up to Their Old Tricks, Wildlife Officials Reintroduce Fishers to the Northeast to Prey Upon Cats and to Provide Income for Fur Traffickers" and " TNR Programs, Domestic Cats, Dogs, and Humans Imperiled by Wildlife Proponents' Use and Abuse of Coyotes and Fishers.")
Since Dauphiné is a serial poisoner, it is highly unlikely that she has spared the lives of any of the cats that she has used as research subjects. It therefore is imperative that the WHS compel both her and the zoo to disclose the number of cats that they have used in research, where they were obtained from, and where they are today. Toward that end, financial records should be subpoenaed and the grounds of the zoo excavated in a search for additional victims of Dauphiné's crimes.
Unlike just about all humane groups and police departments who when confronted with cases of animal cruelty content themselves with high-sounding declarations of moral indignation and offers of insignificant reward money, the WHS is to be commended for once actually getting the lead out and mounting a serious investigation of Dauphiné. In doing so, the organization has established a code of conduct worthy of emulation by all legitimate humane groups and police departments.
Nevertheless, it must not rest on its laurels. Nothing short of an exhaustive investigation of all of Dauphiné's and the National Zoo's dealings with cats will suffice. The zoo, quite obviously, is engaged in large-scale criminal abuse of cats and as such must be exposed and brought to justice.
That is especially so in light of its steadfast and wholehearted support of Dauphiné and her flagrant abuse of cats. "We know what she's doing would in no way jeopardize our animal collection at the National Zoo or jeopardize wildlife, so we feel perfectly comfortable that she continue her research," Pamela Baker-Masson, a spokeswoman for zoo director Dennis Kelly, declared shortly after Dauphine's unmasking and arrest.
|Meridian Hill Park|
Since Kelly served as president of Zoo Atlanta from 2003 until his appointment as director on February 15th of last year, it is conceivable that he and Dauphiné may have known each other when she was at the University of Georgia. It therefore would be helpful if humane officials in Georgia could be prevailed upon to stir themselves long enough in order to launch an investigation into how cats were treated at both Zoo Atlanta and the University of Georgia during Kelly's and Dauphine's respective tenures.
Much more to the point, Baker-Masson's unqualified support for Dauphiné exposes the ugly truth that birders and wildlife biologists hate both companion and farm animals and therefore are guilty of practicing the worst form of virulent speciesism. With such a warped mindset, they certainly do not feel any compulsion whatsoever to abide by the dictates of the anti-cruelty statutes.
"In standing behind Dr. Dauphiné and her alleged acts of animal cruelty, the National Zoo and the Smithsonian are sending a message to the Washington, D.C., community and all of America that the lives of cats have no value," Becky Robinson of Alley Cat Allies (ACA) wrote in a letter addressed to Kelly on May 25th. (See ACA's June Newsletter.)
"Intentionally poisoning and killing a cat by any means is a felony crime in virtually all fifty states and the District of Columbia," she added in a June 4th interview with Care2.com. (See "Alley Cat Allies Calls for Researcher's Suspension.") "Attempting to perpetuate this cruelty with rat poison and antifreeze -- as Dr. Dauphiné is charged -- is even more stunning in its brutality. Poisoning is a slow and painful death."
Even more troubling than the zoo's steadfast support for Dauphiné is its stubborn refusal to even suspend her until the charges against her are heard in a court of law. "We find it unbelievable that a respected research organization -- one dedicated to the protection of animals -- would keep on staff a researcher who has been caught on videotape trying to poison animals," Robinson continued in her letter to Kelly. "We find it even more shocking given that, according to ABC News, Dr. Dauphiné lists among her research projects one involving 'mounting small cameras on domestic cats that roam outdoors to see how they affect wild bird populations.' Clearly this work puts her in direct contact with the very species she allegedly attempted to poison, contrary to the zoo's assertions."
The WHS's Scott Giacoppo is in complete agreement with Robinson. "If she did do this, then we naturally would be concerned about her being around all animals. Whoever would do such a thing is a threat to all animals," he told ABC News in the article cited supra. "It is a slow and painful death. It was callous and (a) complete disregard for animals' well-being."
In yet still another glaring example of the extent of both ailurophobia and lawlessness that prevails within both bird and wildlife advocacy groups, not a single one of them has had the decency to publicly condemn Dauphiné's behavior. That leads to the inescapable conclusion that in private they are overjoyed and every bit as supportive of her criminal behavior as is her employer.
A few years back when James Munn Stevenson admitted to gunning down hundreds of cats outside his Galveston, Texas, home he not only escaped conviction but also became a hero to birders everywhere.
Not only did business skyrocket at the bed and breakfast that he operates but his bird watching tours also gained in popularity. Best of all, he was rewarded for his heinous crimes with a teaching position at College of the Mainland in nearby Texas City.
"Actually, I gained hundreds and hundreds of clients because of this (killing cats). I'm normally greeted as a hero with the environmental types," he boasted in 2008. "I don't go out of my way to tell people who I am, but a lot of people remember the cat incident and are very complimentary."
He also is very much indebted to the capitalist media for their championing of his cause. "This story was in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times," he crowed like a bantam rooster.
That is merely par for the course as far as the brand of one-sided, biased journalism that is practiced by the Murdochs, Sulzbergers, and The Houston Chronicles of this world are concerned. (See Cat Defender posts of August 7, 2008, December 8, 2007, and May 1, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Crime Pays! Having Made Fools Out of Galveston Prosecutors, Serial Cat Killer James Munn Stevenson Is Now a Hero and Laughing All the Way to the Bank," "All the Lies That Fit. Scheming New York Times Hires a Bird Lover to Render His 'Unbiased' Support for James M. Stevenson," and "Houston Chronicle Launches a Propaganda Offensive on Behalf of Serial Cat Killer Jim Stevenson.")
Another serial cat killer from the world of academia who got away scot-free with his despicable crimes was zoology professor Heinrich Mendelssohn of Tel Aviv University who poisoned countless felines because he was too cheap to buy insecticides in order to keep the bugs off of his precious little plants.
He instead employed green lizards to do the job gratis and since cats were eating some of his exterminators he poisoned them. (See Haaretz, December 24, 2010, "Israeli Cat Lovers' Lament.")
Like Stevenson and Mendelssohn before her, Dauphiné is destined to reap a bonanza as the result of her commission of crimes against cats. She, too, will be hailed as a hero by the bands of thugs, criminals, and domestic terrorists who compromise the ranks of birders and wildlife biologists. The only organization standing in the way of her greatness is the WHS which, if it tried really hard enough, probably would be able to uncover additional evidence against her which would in turn ensure that she is removed from society for a very long time.
In another striking parallel with the USFWS, the USDA's Wildlife Services, and numerous other federal agencies that are dedicated to the eradication of all cats, the National Zoo operates primarily off of welfare dollars. For example, it is currently demanding $797.6 million from the taxpayers this year.
If Congress and the Obama Administration were anything other than thieves, murderers, and liars themselves, the National Zoo not only would be stripped of its welfare shekels but also forced to abide by the dictates of the anti-cruelty statutes. Above all, it is simply reprehensible that an organization which not only harbors a cat poisoner within its malignant bosom but also has sanctioned her criminal behavior and systematic abuse of cats is rewarded with close to a billion dollars of the taxpayers' money annually.
In the land of the dollar bill, cat killers, like Wall Street crooks, war criminals, and polluters, always can be assured of finding not only sanctuary but succor within the corridors of power in Washington. About the only indiscretion that the Washington establishment refuses to tolerate under any circumstances is an unzipped fly.
In addition to its criminal and inhumane treatment of cats, the zoo's neglect and abuse of its two-thousand inmates is another reason why its federal funding should be stopped. In particular, the zoo killed at least two dozen animals through neglect and mismanagement between 1995 and 2005.
Most notably, in January of 2003 two red pandas died after eating rat poison that was buried in their pen by an exterminator not even licensed to do business in the city. Perhaps that is where Dauphiné is getting her supply of the rodenticide.
In July of the same year, a red fox was allowed to escape from its enclosure and kill a federally protected bald eagle. That is another indication that Dauphiné, Kelly, and the remainder of the zoo's staff should spend more time and money safeguarding their avian inmates instead of trolling the streets of Washington day and night murdering cats.
In 2005, employees of the zoo crushed to death a three-year-old Sulawesi macaque named Ripley by mindlessly closing an hydraulic door on him. In January of 2006, the zoo liquidated an Asian elephant named Toni because she had developed arthritis. In Defense of Animals blamed the inappropriate care that she had received at the zoo as the cause of her premature death.
In December of the same year, slipshod fencing at the compound enabled a clouded leopard to escape from its enclosure. No doubt countless other animals have died from neglect and mistreatment over the years but their deaths and horrific suffering have gone unreported.
That assumption is supported by the disclosure that the zoo's head veterinarian, Dr. Suzan Murray, has been accused of altering medical records in a clumsy attempt to cover up the wrongful deaths of numerous animals. If that is true, she belongs behind bars with Dauphiné.
As horrific as those deaths and abuses were, they nonetheless pale in comparison with the fact that the National and all other zoos are illegally and immorally incarcerating totally innocent animals. None of the National's inmates have committed any jailable offenses and none of them have been provided with due process hearings. All of that is in addition to having been cruelly uprooted from their families and natural habitats and shanghaied into a lifetime of indentured servitude by their capitalist overlords.
Contrary to the blatant lies propagated by zookeepers, an incarcerated animal is a mere parody of its former self. "The tiger is the perfect example of the way that zoos are missing the point about conservation," Adam Roberts of Born Free USA told Salon on January 5, 2008. (See "Tigers Don't Belong in Zoos.") "There's an expenditure of millions if not tens of millions of dollars on captive tigers. If we really want tigers and not just a shell of the beast we call the tiger, the real emphasis needs to be first and foremost in the field."
Caging animals is not only inherently cruel but it completely annihilates the vitally important links that they forge with other animals and their natural environments. "Because animals are always moving about in the wild they can choose their own companions," Craig Redmond of the Captive Animals Protection Society in Manchester told London's Independent on October 1, 2008. (See "Warring Tigers Leave London Zoo with a £5 Million Bill.") "You can't replicate that in captivity; you can't allow the animals free movement."
There also is the disquieting matter of the large number of domestic cats that are forced into slavery as surrogate mothers, blood donors, and playmates to captive wild animals held at both zoos and captive breeding facilities. Even more outrageously, humane societies steadfastly have refused to even look into how these cats are abused.
Fully cognizant of the antipathy that wildlife biologists and birders have for cats, the abuses that they mete out to them could not conceivably be anything other than horrific. (See Cat Defender post of December 4, 2010 entitled "Muschi Is Left on Her Own in a Perilous Environment after the Berliner Zoo Kills Off Her Best Friend and Protector, Mäuschen.")
Already unspeakably manipulated and abused by factory farmers and the operators of abattoirs, farm animals are treated even far worse than cats by zoos and captive breeding facilities. For instance, scores of rodents, goats, sheep, cows, rabbits, and other animals are fed live each day to zoo animals.
In one particularly gruesome incident, a pet goat was removed from a petting zoo at the Zoologischer Garten Berlin on June 5, 2008 and promptly fed to the wolves in plain view of stunned onlookers. (See Der Spiegel, June 16, 2008, "Berlin Zoo Feeds Goat to Wolves.")
The more that is revealed about zoos and the types of miscreants who are in charge of them the harder it becomes to justify their continued existence. The systematic abuse that they routinely dole out to wild animals is bad enough but the contempt that they exhibit toward cats, other companion animals, and farm animals is even more appalling.
Wildlife biologists and birders regard companion and farm animals to be, at best, objects of exploitation and, at worst, vermin. It therefore is long overdue that individuals who care about all animals became fully aware of the narrow and destructive agenda that these groups are pursuing.
In conclusion, since scientific and technological breakthroughs generally produce far more evil than good, it is extremely rare that there is anything positive to be said about them. Nonetheless, there is a certain amount of poetic justice in how Dauphiné was done in by the very same technology that she so fervently championed and abused.
Specifically, she was unmasked for what she is by snooping technology similar to that which she used against cats. So, in the end, she was not nearly was clever as her towering ego had led her to believe. "A little learning is a dangerous thing," Alexander Pope stated in his 1711 work, Essay on Criticism.
There also is much that cat advocates could learn from Dauphiné's modus operandi. Most obviously, they, too, could employ technology not only to protect cats but also to put birders and wildlife biologists in jail when they break the law.
Photos: Examiner.com (Dauphiné), Ben Schumin of Wikipedia (Meridian Hill Park), and the Galveston Police Department (Stevenson).