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Press Release

For Immediate Release: October 31, 2011
Contact: ALISON GRASHEIM, or (240) 482-1985; BRITT COCANOUR, or (240) 482-1998

Alley Cat Allies welcomes conviction; calls for Dauphine’s dismissal from Smithsonian Institution

BETHESDA, MD— Alley Cat Allies, the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats, today welcomed the guilty verdict in the case of Nico Dauphine, a Smithsonian researcher charged with attempting to poison a colony of feral cats in a Washington, D.C. neighborhood.

“We are satisfied with this verdict,” said Becky Robinson, president of Alley Cat Allies. “Americans care about cats and will not tolerate cruelty towards them. We are grateful to law enforcement and to the prosecutors for treating this crime with the seriousness it deserved.”

Dauphine, a researcher at the Smithsonian Institution’s Migratory Bird Center, was found guilty of attempted cruelty to animals after an investigation last spring showed her in video surveillance placing rat poison around the cats’ food.

Research summaries posted to the Migratory Bird Center’s web site indicate that one of Dauphine’s research projects involved “mounting small cameras on domestic cats that roam outdoors to see how they affect wild bird populations,” putting Dauphine in direct contact with cats.

“We call on the Smithsonian to immediately dismiss Ms. Dauphine from her position and cancel any research projects in which she was involved,” said Robinson. “Her conviction for attempting to kill cats, along with her history of condemning cats in research, leaves her work suspect of major bias. Her work should be discredited and disregarded by the scientific community.”

“Killing cats is illegal, and feral cats are protected under the law,” said Robinson. “Anti-cruelty laws protect all cats—pet, stray, or feral—in every state and the District of Columbia. Americans who are demanding humane approaches for cats are not going to allow this kind of cruelty to go unpunished.”

Alley Cat Allies President Becky Robinson is available for interviews about this case.  Please contact


About Alley Cat Allies
Alley Cat Allies is the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats. Founded in 1990, today Alley Cat Allies has more than 260,000 supporters and helps tens of thousands of individuals, communities, and organizations save and improve the lives of millions of cats and kittens nationwide. Their web site is