Alley Cat Allies Calls For Researcher’s Suspension

Two days after the National Zoo in D.C. refused to suspend a wildlife researcher who was charged with attempting to poison a colony of feral cats, Alley Cat Allies turned over to the institution a letter of protest from 8,000 supporters.

For Alley Cat Allies, the only national organization that advocates for stray and feral cats, the case against researcher Dr. Nico Dauphine is personal.  The group is based in the D.C. area and began the feral cat programs in the city.

Nico Dauphine, who is a wildlife bird researcher, is accused of putting rat poison and anti-freeze into the food bowls of a feral cat colony that live in a park across from her apartment.  When caregivers found an unusual substance in the cat food they asked the Washington Humane Society to analyze it. 

After the substance was determined to be a poison that was deliberately added to the food, the Humane Society conducted a video surveillance of the area for a month.  

The evidence they collected pointed to Dauphine and she was arrested at the end of May.

In addition, the researcher has been vocal about her dislike of feral cats and how she believes they threaten birds and other wildlife.  She has written about it in her research and lectured about it to others in the profession.

However, the National Zoo that employs Dauphine has refused to remove her from any of her job duties.

Becky Robinson, president of Alley Cat Allies explained in an interview the importance of this case and why Dauphine should be placed on administrative suspension until her trial.

“Keeping her on staff during this time would be a violation of the public’s trust in the national Zoo and the Smithsonian Institution,” said Robinson.

“Intentionally poisoning and killing a cat by any means is a felony crime in virtually all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  Attempting to perpetrate this cruelty with rat poison and anti-freeze — as Dr. Dauphine is charged — is even more stunning in its brutality.  Poisoning is a slow and painful death.”

Robinson explained that the caregivers at the park have a special bond with the cats they feed twice a day.  “Even though they can’t hold and pet the cats, the caregivers have the same feelings for the animals as they would for a pet cat,” said Robinson.

Robinson also shared the flawed science behind Dr. Dauphine’s bias that stray and feral cats threaten the lives of wild birds.  She said research points to pollution, loss of habitat and even accidents such as flying into windows as the biggest threats.  Cats rank very low on the scale of eliminating large numbers of birds.

Dr. Dauphine’s current work with the National Zoo puts her in constant contact with free roaming cats.  Her study includes placing tiny cameras on the backs of cats to record their interaction with birds.

Robinson finds this very disturbing considering the charges against the researcher. “Given the nature of the charges pending against her, we request confirmation of whether or not Dr. Dauphine is actively engaged in domestic cat research.”

Alley Cat Allies works hard to protect feral and stray cats and stop them from breeding at uncontrollable rates.  They have established hi-volume spay and neuter clinics and have more than 260 groups across the country that focus on Trap-Neuter-Return programs.  Robinson also wanted to remind people that feral cats are not a breed of wild felines.  They are simply the offspring of domestic housecats that were either abandoned or lost. 

Take Action: Please sign the Petition Asking The Smithsonian Institute To Suspend The Researcher


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Joy Jin
Joy Jin6 years ago

I can't believe it. If she would poison cats, she shouldn't work with any animals at all. Also, she should have known that cats aren't the ones killing most birds

Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle6 years ago

Mean and misguided woman -- TAKE HER DOWN!

Leon Muhudinov
Leon M6 years ago

This researcher is clearly not fit to do her work as she threatens the well being of these feral cats. She clearly has a biased view and has decided to use a very cruel way of showing it.

This is a violation of the Animal Welfare Act, and not only should the researcher lose her job but she should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and serve and jail.

Anja N.
Justin R6 years ago

Bitch! She deserves 10 years of hard labour.

Alessandra C.

Nobody should ever work with animals unless he/she is an animal lover. Animals understand when they are cared for with compassion and love. No cruelty to animals should ever be tolerated.

Sue S.
Susan S Scott6 years ago

Since there is little doubt of her guilt, due to the video, I would fire her for not having the compassionate nature required to work with animals. She's not a trustworthy steward and she is duplicitous.

Zee Kallah
.6 years ago

Don't let her near animals again!

yvonne R.
Yvonne R6 years ago

Once again people - this is the USA where people are Innocent until Proven Guilty in a Court of Law. If convicted than her position working with animals should be in question... until that time it is merely an accusation.

Ken K.
Ken K6 years ago

A SICK, TWISTED, SOULESS, DISGUSTING BITCH that should be fired. Did the "doctor" ever hear about the "Laws of Nature"? I would suggest another career path to this BITCH. Boycott the Zoo and the other associated entities. Money (or lack of) doesn't talk it shouts.

Norma V.
Norma Villarreal6 years ago

Is she in the right profession?