Thursday, June 02, 2011

The National Zoo Stands behind Nico Dauphine

As mentioned in the last post, Alley Cat Rescue’s President, Louise Holton, sent a letter to the director of the Zoo requesting that Nico Dauphine be suspended from her position at the Zoo until there is an investigation into the allegations of animal cruelty pending against her. One would think that this isn’t too much to ask, considering Dauphine works with animals. And it especially doesn’t seem like too much of a request, considering her research for the Zoo’s Migratory Bird Center involves cats and she is charged with poisoning cats! 

Yet, the National Zoo continues to stand behind Dauphine, by allowing her to remain in her position. Again, the Zoo tries to reassure its supporters that animal care is one of its “top priorities,” and that Dauhpine’s research “in no way jeopardizes animals.” The Zoo talks of taking “temporary precautions” with her work, but what are we supposed to think that means? The only “precaution” the Zoo should be taking right now is by suspending her altogether. Until the court proves otherwise, this woman should not be permitted to be around animals.

Here is a copy of the response ACR (and others) received from the National Zoo:    


Thank you for contacting the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and FONZ regarding the allegations against Dr. Nico Dauphine, a postdoctoral research fellow based within the Migratory Bird Center. We take our role as the nation’s zoo very seriously and work hard to provide leadership in animal care, conservation science, education, and sustainability.

Animal care is one of the Zoo’s top priorities, and we appreciate when visitors share our passion and concern for our animals’ well-being. Please be assured that Dr. Dauphine’s research in no way jeopardizes animals, and the Smithsonian has taken appropriate temporary precautions with respect to her postdoctoral appointment. These restrictions will allow this matter to be fairly resolved within the judicial system.

Our leadership team thanks you for sharing our passion for the Zoo, and your continued support is greatly appreciated.

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