Bird Specialist Sentenced for Trying to Poison Stray Cats

Woman put rat poison in food left for strays

Wednesday, Dec 14, 2011  |  Updated 6:18 PM EDT
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Woman Sentenced for Trying to Poison Cats

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A former National Zoo employee was sentenced Wednesday for trying to poison stray cats in her northwest Washington neighborhood.

Bird specialist Nico Dauphine received a 180-day suspended sentence, a year of probation, 120 days of community service and a $100 fine for misdemeanor attempted animal cruelty, News4’s Jackie Bensen reported. She is prohibited from volunteering or working with cats for the duration of probation.

Residents left food for feral cats near Malcolm X Park in Columbia Heights. They suspected someone was spiking the food and asked the Washington Humane Society to investigate.

The Humane Society found rat poison and antifreeze in the food. Surveillance video showed Dauphine dumping rat poison on the food, prosecutors said.

Dauphine, a Ph.D specializing in bird conservation, has written and lectured on the destructive impact of cats on bird population.

“Justice was served today," Washington Humane Society President and CEO Lisa LaFontaine said. "Every animal, regardless of breed, age, condition or any other factor, deserves protection from cruelty and abuse. Without a doubt there is more work to be done to bring D.C.’s feral cat population under control, and we will continue that work in conjunction with D.C. law in a safe, responsible and humane manner.”

Dauphine resigned from her position with the National Zoo Nov. 1, a day after her conviction.

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