Our network

WHS Protects and Serves DC Animals in 2011 | Community Spirit

Title (Max 100 Characters)

WHS Protects and Serves DC Animals in 2011
WHS Protects and Serves DC Animals in 2011

2011 has been another busy year for our field services team, comprised of our Humane Law Enforcement (HLE) and Animal Care and Control Officers. To date, our field services division has responded to nearly 15,000 new calls, including over 1,300 cases of animal cruelty and neglect investigated by our HLE officers.  

Just this fall, Nico Dauphine, a former Smithsonian National Zoo researcher, was found guilty of attempted animal cruelty for attempting to poison cats in her neighborhood, thanks in part to the efforts of our Humane Law Enforcement Department. In March, Dauphine was caught on tape feeding rat poison to stray cats outside her Columbia Heights apartment building. A local feral cat colony manager noticed a substance in the cats’ food that was later found to be poison. She notified the WHS Humane Law Enforcement Department immediately. The HLE team sought and secured security footage from the apartment building that showed Dauphine taking something out of her purse and placing it in the food.

Dauphine was found guilty on October 31. She resigned her post with the Smithsonian Zoo the next day. This month, she was sentenced to 180 days, suspended; 120 hours of community service; a 12-month probationary period during which she is prohibited from working or volunteering with cats; and is required to contribute $100 to the Crime Victims Compensation Program. 

Earlier this year, two other local residents were found guilty for their crimes against animals. Dervaughn Turner of Washington, DC, pled guilty to two counts of animal cruelty. Metropolitan Police Department officers recovering a gun reported at a DC residence called WHS Humane Law Enforcement officers to investigate a report of dogs used for fighting residing at the home. In January, three dogs were found at the address, along with dogfighting paraphernalia. Two of the dogs received thousands of dollars’ worth of treatment by veterinarians for injuries and wounds from dog fighting. In August, Turner was arrested for knowingly housing dogs used for fighting, and in December, he pled guilty to his crime. Each count of animal cruelty carries a one-year supervised probation and a 30-day suspended sentence. In addition, he is required to pay $1,000 in restitution and commit 40 hours of community service.

Mario Romero Barillas was arrested in a separate animal fighting case. WHS Humane Law Enforcement officers had been investigating a case involving a rooster who was found at a Washington, DC home by WHS Animal Control officers because it is illegal to own livestock in the District of Columbia. The officers found that the rooster’s spurs had been sharpened to a point, a trait often found in roosters involved in cockfighting, which prompted an investigation. Barillas admitted to using the animal for cockfighting. Barillas, who had returned to the country illegally, plead guilty to attempted engaging in animal fighting in September, and will serve five years in a federal detention center before being deported again to Guatemala.

Our Animal Care and Control Officers rescued a deer from the Tidal Basin, a young fox trapped in a net and an injured monitor lizard from a Metropolitan Police raid, all in one October day. And two field officers proved that no obstacle is too big or too foul when they rescued two geese from a Blue Plains waste treatment facility this summer. Despite being so busy here in DC, our Humane Law Enforcement Officers made time to help animals across the country. Disaster Response Specialist Ann Russell responded to aid animal victims of this spring’s horrible flooding in Conway, Arkansas, and shared with us her notes from the field.

These are just a few of myriad cases our team has seen this year. We believe that every animal, regardless of breed, age, condition or any other factor, deserves protection from cruelty and harm. We look forward to continuing our work fulfilling our mission to protect and serve all the animals of the District in 2012 and beyond.

To report animal cruelty or neglect and animal emergencies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, please call 202-BE-HUMANE (202-234-8626). If you are interested in reading more stories of animals who were helped and rehabilitated with the aid of our officers, we hope you will consider purchasing our 2012 Humane Law Enforcement calendar. E-mail ZMacinanti@washhumane.org for more information.