Nico Dauphine, National Zoo employee, charged with poisoning cats
You thought the epic war between Sylvester and Tweety Bird was fictional? Think again.
Nico Dauphine, who works at the National Zoo, holds a PhD and specializes in bird conservation, is suspected of spiking food left for local feral cats with antifreeze and rat poison, WRC-TV reports. The researcher was charged May 11 with attempted cruelty to animals.
The protector of the parrots was apprehended after an elaborate sting operation that involved a stakeout of food left for cats outside of local homes and surveillance videos. Eventually, police came to the conclusion that Dauphine was the culprit.
Dauphine's attorney told WRC that her client's "whole life has been devoted to the care and welfare of animals."
You may think that Dauphine may be a villain in this proxy war between the feathered fans and the pawed patriots. But no one heeded her warnings, her pleas to think of the bird population when letting loose those genocidal cats. Her ideas can be boiled down into one thought: kittens are evil.
In 2007, the then-student at the University of Georgia wrote to the New York Times in response to an article about killing a cat that was hunting an endangered Piping Plover.
"Do we call it a war when the slaughter is almost exclusively one-sided?" Dauphine asked. "The birds are simply trying to survive in the face of formidable odds."
That's not the only time that Dauphine spoke of the destruction cats can cause. Two years after her letter to the Times, the researcher - armed only with a PowerPoint presentation - warned an audience about the dangers of feral cats in her lecture, "Apocalypse Meow: Free-ranging Cats and the Destruction of American Wildlife." Near the end of the 40-minute speech, Dauphine said that Toxomplasmosis, a disease carried by cats, could lead to "abortions" in women.
The attempted cruelty to animals charge carries a fine of $1,000 and a maximum jail sentence of 180 days.
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