Browsing the archives for the Legal Issues category

When Feeding Community Cats Is Outlawed…

The timing could hardly have been better. Less than 12 hours after I uploaded the artwork for the latest Vox Felina gear, I learned that the Virginia Supreme Court had, just last Friday, decided in favor of caretaker Susan Mills, who’d been cited in 2011 for feeding community cats. As a story in the Richmond [...]

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Brighter Days Ahead for the Sunshine State’s Cats?

Feral cat advocates were more than ready for some good news when, last Wednesday afternoon, we got some. Florida House Bill 1121, supported by Best Friends Animal Society, Alley Cat Allies, and the Humane Society of the United States, made it through the 11-member House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee with unanimous approval. Among the [...]

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Monmouth County, NJ

It’s taken a very long time, but there is now an unmistakable momentum. At long last, shelters across the country are beginning to reconsider their long-standing policies about stray, abandoned, and feral cats.
Among the pioneers were, of course, Jacksonville, FL, and San Jose, CA, with their “Feral Freedom” programs. Late last year, Sutter County, CA, [...]

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Follow-up: Indian Harbour Beach Ordinance

Last Wednesday, I reported that the Indian Harbour Beach (FL) City Council had voted in favor of ordinance revisions that would effectively ban the feeding and care of feral cats. At the time, I hadn’t seen the final wording of the ordinance, however. Nor did I have any details of the lively discussion that preceded [...]

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Pompano Beach Cracks Down on Feeding Homeless Cats

The same day the Indian Harbour Beach (FL) City Council voted to ban the feeding of, and caring for, feral cats, the issue was making headline 150 miles to the south, in Pompano Beach.
According to Tuesday’s Sun Sentinel, “Gretchen Sheehan’s labor of love”—feeding homeless cats—”netted her a $50 fine,” thus creating a bit of an [...]

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Indian Harbour Beach Bans Feeding and Care of Feral Cats

Late Tuesday I received word that Indian Harbour Beach, Florida, went through with its proposed ordinance, thereby making it illegal: “for any person to possess, harbor, feed, breed, maintain or keep any feral animals on any public or private property located within the corporate boundaries of the City of Indian Harbour Beach.”
The approved ordinance* reads, [...]

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Indian Harbour Beach, FL, Votes on TNR Ban Tonight

Regular readers will recall that last summer, officials in Brevard County, FL, threatened to impose restrictions on TNR by way of changes to their ordinance governing free-roaming cats. This came after a moratorium on new colonies in residential areas was declared by the Brevard County Commission during its May board meeting.
According to a Florida Today [...]

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Hope, Kansas?

Wellington, Kansas, rings in the new year by introducing a pet limit law aimed at reducing the number of free-roaming cats. The likely outcome? More cats—and more of them killed.
According to a news report Monday, the city of Wellington, Kansas (8.19 square miles, population approximately 8,057), recently modified its animal ordinance to include a [...]

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Animal Wise Radio (July 22)

Did you catch this week’s Animal Wise Radio show? Hosts Mike Fry and Beth Nelson invited me on to discuss the story of 76-year-old Joy Mattice, who’s currently facing misdemeanor charges for feeding cats in Minneapolis, as well as the Brevard County (FL) Commission’s decision to place a moratorium on new TNR colonies.
If you missed [...]

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Nico Dauphine: A Different Kind of Community Service

The H. Carl Moultrie Courthouse, where the Superior Court of the District of Columbia is located. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and AgnosticPreachersKid.
More than seven months after she was charged with attempted animal cruelty—and six weeks after her eventual conviction—former Smithsonian researcher Nico Dauphine was sentenced today to a $100 fine and 120 hours [...]

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Run-on Sentence

The H. Carl Moultrie Courthouse, where the Superior Court of the District of Columbia is located. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and AgnosticPreachersKid.
Having been found guilty of attempted animal cruelty on October 31st, Nico Dauphine was scheduled to be in court today for sentencing. According to court records, however, the hearing has been postponed [...]

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Nico Dauphine Found Guilty of Attempted Animal Cruelty

The H. Carl Moultrie Courthouse, where the Superior Court of the District of Columbia is located. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and AgnosticPreachersKid.
After more than five months of delays, Nico Dauphine was, this afternoon in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, found guilty of attempted animal cruelty. (Sentencing hearing is scheduled for November [...]

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Nico Dauphine on Trial (Day 3)

Testimony wrapped up Wednesday afternoon in Nico Dauphine’s attempted animal cruelty trial. Among the witnesses for the Defense: Peter Marra, Dauphine’s advisor at the Smithsonian’s Migratory Bird Center—who’s previously described TNR as “essentially cat hoarding without walls.” [1] Dauphine took the stand as well, and, as I understand it, did herself no favors career-wise (even [...]

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Nico Dauphine on Trial (Day 2)

The H. Carl Moultrie Courthouse, where the Superior Court of the District of Columbia is located. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and AgnosticPreachersKid.
It looks like Ed Clark won’t have the opportunity to, in the words of the government’s Motion in Limine to Exclude Testimony of Defendant’s Experts, offer “testimony regarding ideological debate and the environmental [...]

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Nico Dauphine on Trial (Day 1)

The H. Carl Moultrie Courthouse, where the Superior Court of the District of Columbia is located. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and AgnosticPreachersKid.
After months of delays, Nico Dauphine went on trial yesterday, charged with attempted animal cruelty. And according to court documents, she’s got plenty of help.
Ed Clark, president of the Wildlife Center of Virginia, [...]

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Jake and Lily

Over the past few months, I’ve heard from several people familiar with Nico Dauphine’s cat-trapping activities in and around Athens, GA, during her days as a PhD student at the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. Three years ago, in Athens-Clarke County Magistrate Court, Dauphine referred to her roundups as “community service.”:
“Oh, I do [...]

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Community Service

On October 24th, Nico Dauphine is scheduled to appear in court, charged with attempted animal cruelty related to the poisoning of cats in her Columbia Heights neighborhood. (The latest continuance, requested by the prosecution and granted earlier this month, pushes the trial date back two full months.)
It won’t be the first time her “involvement” with [...]

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Spoiler Alert

Coming up this Wednesday: “Impacts of Free Roaming Cats on Native Wildlife,” a Webinar sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Registration, from what I can tell, appears to be open to the public—though I’m still awaiting a confirmation e-mail (which will include, I hope, some clarification re: time zone for this “2:00–3:00 pm” [...]

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Apocalypse Meow: A Brief Review

Although Nico Dauphine has yet to be suspended from her duties at the Smithsonian’s Migratory Bird Center, it seems all the attention she’s received over the past week-and-a-half is making life rather uncomfortable for her supporters.
Last week, the National Zoo removed Dauphine’s online application for recruiting field assistants from its Website; this week, the University [...]

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Nico Dauphine Update

Photo from an online application form Nico Dauphine was (until Tuesday) using to hire field assistants, whose duties include “assist[ing] citizen participants in deploying miniature collar-mounted cameras on their free-roaming pet domestic cats.”
Tuesday, while animal welfare organizations across the country were issuing statements condemning the alleged cruelty and urging justice in the case, Nico Dauphine’s [...]

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