Woman Accused For Attempted Animal Cruelty After Rat Poison Incidents

4:38 PM, May 24, 2011   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- The Humane Society of the United States and the Alley Cat Allies released statements Tuesday about an allegation in Capitol Heights that a woman put rat poison in bowls with cat food for cats. 

A spokesperson for the Washington Humane Society said Monday that a woman was arrested last week for attempted cruelty to animals in the area of Park Square apartments on 15th Street NW.

According to the Washington Humane Society, Nico Dauphine would place rat poison in bowls with cat food for cats that were known to feed in the area of the apartments.

She was charged with attempted cruelty to animals which is a misdemeanor carrying a maximum penalty of 180 in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Dauphine has a scheduled court date in the first week in June.

A National Zoo official says Dauphine is a research fellow at the national Zoo and continues to do research there. She has published research on migratory birds, and specifically, the affects of feral cats on birds and other wildlife that the cats feed on.

Zoo officials added that Dauphine's status hasn't changed because they feel she poses no threat to zoo animals. They also say no incidents happened at the zoo but that they could not comment further because of the legal process in motion.

On Tuesday, the Humane Society of The United States applauded the Washington Humane Society's treatment of the case, saying:

"The Humane Society of the United States applauds the Washington Humane Society for its investigation into the alleged illegal poisoning of feral cats, and urges full prosecution by the U.S. Attorney's Office if warranted. We recognize that managing feral and stray community cats is a complex and emotional issue for cat and bird advocates. Although they have a common goal, advocates continue to battle over how to effectively reduce the number of roaming cats. The HSUS supports humane and innovative programs such as trap-neuter-return to manage feral cat population numbers and reduce conflicts. Community collaboration and involvement, as well as spaying and neutering pet cats and keeping them indoors or safely confined to their property, will lead to solutions that protect cats, birds and other wildlife. Regardless of one's views on cat-bird conflicts, poisoning feral cats is short-sighted, criminal, and just the wrong response."

The Alley Cat Allies made many of the same points concerning this case. Alley Cat Allies President Becky Robinson said in a statement:

"This troubling story underlines the importance of what we have been doing for over 20 years...Alley Cat Allies supports humane and effective policies that take into account the best interests of all animals. Intentionally killing cats is illegal and cruel. Criminal charges in this case are appropriate and necessary."

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