Nico Dauphiné, Ph.D., Is Convicted of Attempting to Poison a Colony of Homeless Cats but Questions Remain Concerning the Smithsonian's Role
"Wild animals are just as important as companion animals. This case shows that whether or not an animal is in someone's lap or in the alley, they (sic) are entitled to the same protections."
-- Scott Giacoppo of the Washington Humane Society
Cat-hating ornithologist Nico Dauphiné of the Smithsonian Institution's National Zoo hired a big-shot Washington shyster in order to defend her and, once in the dock, lied her ugly little face off but in the end none of that saved her. Judge Truman Morrison of the District of Columbia Superior Court did not fall for her blatant denials and instead convicted her on October 31st of attempting to poison a colony of homeless cats living in Meridian Hill Park with antifreeze and rat poison. (See photo of her above.)
"Absolutely not!" the thirty-eight-year-old Dauphiné, defiant to the very end, swore from the witness box when asked if she indeed had committed the foul act. When confronted with a surveillance video shot by the Washington Humane Society (WHS) wherein she clearly can be seen removing an object from her purse and depositing it in the cats' food fishes she countered by ludicrously claiming that she instead was stealing the cats' food so as to starve them to death.
Since ornithologists and wildlife biologists justifiably can lay claim to the title of being some of the biggest liars on the planet, it is by no means surprising that Dauphiné perjured herself on the stand. It is odd, however, that she opted for a bench trial as opposed to one by jury.
If she had chosen the latter option, she surely would have walked because it is virtually impossible to impanel a jury that is totally devoid of rabid cat haters. That is precisely how amateur ornithologist and serial cat killer James Munn Stevenson was able to get away scot-free with his heinous crimes. (See Cat Defender posts of November 22, 2006 and November 20, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Evil Galveston Bird Lover Is Finally Arrested After Having Gunned Down Hundreds of Cats" and "Bird Lovers All Over the World Rejoice as Serial Killer James M. Stevenson Is Rewarded by Galveston Court for Gunning Down Hundreds of Cats.")
Her decision is all the more puzzling in that she was represented by William R. "Billy" Martin of the high-powered Washington law firm of Dorsey and Whitney. (See photo of him on the right below.)
Martin, it might be recalled, is infamous for defending footballer Michael Vick against charges of operating a dog fighting ring. It accordingly perhaps would not be unfair to deduce that since birds of a feather flock together, that dog killers, cat poisoners, and their shysters stick together like a rich man and his money.
Since Martin formerly worked for Sutherland Asbill and Brennan in Atlanta, it is conceivable that Dauphiné already knew him from her days at the University of Georgia (UGA) where she distinguished herself as an avid opponent of cats in general and TNR in particular. Perhaps she even was involved in poisoning cats back then but somehow managed to escape apprehension. Although very few of them ever are caught flagrante delicto, those ornithologists and wildlife biologists that are arrested usually turn out to be serial offenders.
Martin, who is married to reporter Michel Martin of National Public Radio, also has represented basketball player Jayson Williams who shotgunned to death his chauffeur as some sort of a party prank and public toilet toe tapper Larry Craig of the United States Senate. All that therefore is lacking in his portfolio is a pederastic priest, a mass murderer, and Junior Gotti in order for him to cement his reputation as counsel of last resort to every low-life and scumbag in the country.
The WHS began its investigation of Dauphiné in March after the cats' conscientious caretakers discovered that poison had been placed in their food dishes. For a month, the organization not only electronically monitored the cats' feeding station but also Dauphiné's comings and goings from her nearby apartment on Fifteenth Street in the northwest quadrant of the city.
That in turn led to her arrest on May 11th. (See Cat Defender post of July 12, 2011 entitled "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.")
Sentencing is scheduled for this coming Monday and although Dauphiné could be fined as much as $1,000 and sentenced to serve one-hundred-eighty days in jail, it is a foregone conclusion that is not about to happen. In fact, it would come as a tremendous shock if she is given so much as one night behind bars and fined a solitary sou.
A suspended sentence, community service, perhaps court costs, and a tongue lashing tacked on at the end as a public relations gimmick is about all that she is likely to receive. She then will prance out of court dancing a merry little jig all the while laughing up her sleeve a la Stevenson. (See Cat Defender post of August 7, 2008 entitled "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.")
In the unlikely event that she should receive any jail time, she surely will turn around and appeal her conviction and the matter could drag on for years. Besides, with a sharp operator like Martin in her corner she undoubtedly has plenty more legal cards to play.
"Wild animals are just as important as companion animals," Scott Giacoppo of the WHS told the Athens Banner-Herald on November 3rd. (See "Former University of Georgia Researcher Convicted in District of Columbia for Lacing Cat Food with Poison.") "This case shows that whether or not an animal is in someone's lap or in the alley, they (sic) are entitled to the same protections."
His colleague, Lisa LaFontaine, jumped the gun a bit, however, by declaring victory. "Our Humane Law Enforcement Department works hard to bring justice to abused animals in our city, and we can say with confidence that justice was served today," she told the DCist on October 31st. (See "Zoo Researcher Found Guilty in Feral Cat Poisoning Case.")
That is hardly the case since she has not been sentenced yet and, much more importantly, many questions remain unaddressed. Only when she is locked up and these outstanding issues are dealt with can it ever be so much as intimated that a semblance of justice has been meted out.
All is not lost, however, in that she has resigned her position as a postdoctoral researcher at the zoo's Migratory Bird Center although she did not even have the professionalism to do that until after she was convicted. Like all inveterate cat-haters, she quite obviously is so far gone in both the morality and decency departments that she is beyond salvage.
She is by no means alone in her depravity in that her employer had repeatedly brushed aside calls to fire her ever since her arrest. "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, who serves as zoo director Dennis Kelly's mouthpiece, declared with a straight face immediately after Dauphiné's arrest.
Even after her conviction the zoo still was standing firmly behind that lamebrained decision. "She did not work with any of the Smithsonian's animals, and we do not feel that she posed any threat to the animals in the Smithsonian's collection," Jen Zoon, another gasbag employed by the zoo, told the Los Angeles Times on November 1st. (See "Smithsonian Bird Researcher Is Convicted of Trying to Poison Cats.")
The very best that can be said for mesdames Baker-Masson and Zoon is that they surely have missed their calling and perhaps should try their dirty hands in the political arena. At least in politics their forte for evading and obfuscating the truth would, sans doute, find a considerably more appreciative audience.
As both of these highly paid professional four-flushers understand only too well, this case never has had anything to do with Dauphiné's treatment of the hundreds of animals that the zoo has incarcerated. Furthermore, as recent revelations have demonstrated, her colleagues are so proficient in abusing and killing the inmates that her participation would be superfluous.
On the contrary, it concerns a entity of the national government maintaining an employee on its payroll that has been indicted for attempting to poison cats. That is a criminal offense and by virtue of its continued support of her has implicated the Smithsonian in her dastardly deeds.
Much more importantly, there is the safety of all cats in Washington to be taken into account. As far as it is known, no dead cats have turned up in Meridian Hill Park but that in itself does not mean that Dauphiné has not poisoned cats there and elsewhere around the city. That is because poisoned cats often crawl off to die in remote places and for that reason their bodies seldom are discovered and even when they are necropsies rarely are performed on them.
Regardless of who is responsible, cats are continuing to be poisoned around the city. For example, the Washington Post reported on October 20th that two homeless cats were found dead on October 11th in the 1000 block of Hamilton Street in the northeast section of the city and that several more are missing. (See "DC Animal Watch.")
"If she did do this, then we naturally would be concerned about her being around all animals," Giacoppo told ABC-TV on May 24th. (See "District of Columbia Zoo Employee Denies Charge She Tried to Poison Feral Cats.") "Whoever would do such a thing is a threat to all animals. It is a slow and painful death. It was callous and complete disregard for animals' well-being."
Becky Robinson of Alley Cat Allies (ACA) summed up the deplorable situation in even blunter terms in a letter sent to Kelly on May 25th. "In standing by Dr. Dauphiné and her alleged acts of animal cruelty the National Zoo and the Smithsonian are sending a message to the Washington, DC, community and all of America that the lives of cats have no value," she wrote.
That without a doubt is exactly how "smelly" Kelly and his gang of inveterate cat-haters at the National Zoo feel. In the final analysis, it is totally irrelevant what ornithologists and wildlife biologists think about cats. They are welcome to think anything that they bloody well please but once they cross the line that separates thought from action and take the law into their hands they promptly should be arrested and thrown in jail for a very long time.
Although the high-muck-a-mucks at the Smithsonian categorically rejected its earlier demand that it dismiss Dauphiné, that has not deterred ACA from pressuring it to both discontinue her research and to never hire her again in any capacity. "Any research Nico Dauphiné was involved in should be considered tainted and biased," Robinson stated in a November 2nd press release. (See "Alley Cat Allies Calls on Smithsonian to Halt Accused Cat Poisoner's Research.") "We know one of her research projects studied the behavior of cats by 'mounting small cameras on domestic cats that roam outdoors to see how they affect wild bird populations.' Given this conviction, that research should not be allowed to continue. In fact, it should be dismissed entirely."
There is little chance of that ever occurring. If the Smithsonian does not pull a fast one and rehire Dauphiné on the sly, it surely will go out and get another ornithologist in order to continue her work.
In even saying that much Robinson is grossly understating the crimes committed against cats by both Dauphiné and the Smithsonian. First of all, where did Dauphiné obtain the cats that she so horribly abused? Secondly, under what conditions were they kept at the zoo?
Thirdly, and most important of all, what became of them once Dauphiné and the Smithsonian had finished with them? Based upon her behavior in Meridian Hill Park, there can be little doubt that she killed every one of them.
Consequently, although the WHS did a tremendous job in apprehending and prosecuting Dauphiné, now certainly is not the time for it to rest on its laurels because there is still much more work for it to do. It first of all should procure a search warrant and raid the zoo unannounced in a belated effort to save the lives of any cats being held there and to secure evidence relating to past abuse.
Secondly, it should ask for a grand jury investigation into feline abuse at the Smithsonian. Toward that objective, Dauphiné, Kelly, and others should be subpoenaed and forced to provide testimony under oath.
"A person convicted of attempted animal cruelty should never be allowed to work at an organization whose stated mission includes 'demonstrating leadership in animal care'," Robinson continued in the press release cited supra.
Palaver such as that is a complete waste of time in that Robinson knows as well as other knowledgeable individuals that the only use that the Smithsonian has for animals of any species is to exploit them. Instead of attempting to appeal to the better natures of the phonies in the organization's hierarchy, ACA needs to be using its considerable political clout in order to persuade Congress to reconsider the nearly one-billion dollars that it annually doles out to these cat-hating fiends.
Ideally, it should be stripped of all public funding and ordered to release the animals that are wasting away in its cages. Failing that, at the very least it should be precluded from using taxpayer dollars in order to shanghai, abuse, and kill cats in flagrant violation of every anti-cruelty statute on the books.
That is, admittedly, a tall order considering that seemingly every agency within the national government has a budget dedicated to defaming and killing cats. The most egregious offender of all is the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) which in recent years has extirpated cats, inter alia, on San Nicolas Island and in the Florida Keys.
It also gallivants around the country denouncing TNR. For instance, on November 5th it treated itself to a late autumn holiday in Hawaii in order to stage an anti-TNR workshop entitled "Influencing Local Scale Feral Cat Trap-Neuter-Release Decisions." Not surprisingly, the workshop was the pièce de résistance of the ultra-ailurophobic Wildlife Society's annual convention in Waikoloa. (See Care2.com, November 3, 2011, "USFWS to Hold Anti-TNR Workshop.")
In addition to the Smithsonian and the USFWS, the USDA, Pentagon, United States Army Corps of Engineers, the National Park Service, the United States Forest Service, and governmental research laboratories all abuse and kill cats with impunity. Not about to be left out of the cat killing craze, all fifty states likewise have their own wildlife departments who share the feds' prejudices.
Furthermore, the anti-cat indoctrination process begins at an early age in the classrooms presided over by ornithologists and wildlife biologists at public universities. (See Cat Defender post of July 18, 2011 entitled "Evil Professors Have Transformed College Campuses into Hotbeds of Hatred Where Cats Routinely Are Vilified, Horribly Abused, and Systematically Killed.")
That segues into the matter of Dauphiné's not inconsiderable legal bill. It is a good bet that the Smithsonian is footing either part or all of it. Should that not be the case, it is a distinct possibility that the American Bird Conservancy, the National Audubon Society, and any number of wildlife groups are assisting her in meeting her financial obligations.
In a November 1st entry to his blog, Science 2.0, Hank Campbell raised several thought provoking issues. "How did Dauphiné, in the world of well-documented science publishing culture (well, her field is not science, it is advocacy) get a job, when a 2009 paper that she co-wrote incredulously claimed that cats killed a billion birds a year?" (See "When Postdocs Attack.")
First of all, although so-called scientific research may be accompanied by copious footnotes and lengthy bibliographies that does not mean that it necessarily is any less biased, contrived, and polemical than, say, either talk radio or the New York Post. In fact, all research and policy statements issued by ornithologists and wildlife biologists amount to little more than anti-cat screeds.
Speaking more fundamentally, bias never can be completely eliminated even by honest scholars but ornithologists and wildlife biologists are so dishonest that they do not make even a token effort to overcome their prejudices. That is quite remarkable given that even third-rate scholars are adept at camouflaging their ulterior motives.
"...I am not sure philosophers are so different from the lay public (that relies upon intuition), it's just that the former are trained to cover their tracks with an impressive edifice of arguments and logic," Tom Shakespeare, a geneticist and sociologist with the World Health Organization, told the New Scientist on July 23, 2008. (See "A World Based on Reason.") "It is hard to be truly objective, to eliminate our history and culture and psychology from thinking."
As far as Dauphiné is concerned, the Smithsonian probably hired her precisely because she had established a track record at UGA as a cat-hater. Not only did she vociferously oppose TNR when it was proposed in Athens and surrounding Clarke County in 2009 but her polemical, "Apocalypse Meow: Free-Roaming Cats and the Destruction of American Wildlife," is every bit as contrived and fanciful as Stanley Temple' rantings of a few years earlier.
Dauphiné also carved out a reputation for herself while at UGA as being an apostle of death. "There's very little or, arguably, no evidence at all that it's (TNR) effective," she howled to the Athens Banner-Herald in 2009 but referenced in the article cited supra. "To me, it's just a lot about people's discomfort with death and people not wanting to deal with it."
C'est-à-dire, homeless cats and, by extension, their caretakers do not have any right to live and she has anointed herself as their executioner. The only species therefore that are entitled to flourish are songbirds; even certain unprofitable avian species must perish.
She certainly is not alone in feeling that way. For example, both the Connecticut and New Jersey chapters of the National Audubon Society have gone on record in recent years as favoring such a Hitler-inspired agenda. (See Cat Defender posts of March 15, 2007 and May 6, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Connecticut Audubon Society Shows Its True Colors by Calling for the Slaughter of Feral Cats, Mute Swans, Mallards, Canada Geese, and Deer" and "National Audubon Society Wins the Right for Invasive Species of Shorebirds to Prey Upon Unborn Horseshoe Crabs.")
Since Dauphiné is so enamored with death it would be interesting to see how she would fare if, against all odds, she is forced to spend some time in the clink with a few of Washington's hardened criminals. The first thing that this puffed-up Ph.D., who has spent her entire life bumming around universities and the Smithsonian, would soon realize is that her fellow inmates are not defenseless cats; they have both the means and savior-faire to not only take care of themselves but a cowardly little Scheißkopf like her to boot.
Photos: Examiner.com (Dauphiné) and Law Crossing (Martin.)