Some of you may recall a poisonous blog post written by John Dineley, the pro-captivity ex-marine mammal presenter/trainer. It featured on Mr Dineley’s blog, And the Moonbeams Kissed the Sea, and was promoted by the pro-circus blog, Astley’s Legacy; blogs that enable the opinionated Dineley to launch written attacks – without redress - on anyone and everyone who disagrees with his twisted philosophy on animal captivity.
The offending post was dated 10th October 2013. However, since then it has been changed on at least three different occasions, with material edited in and – even more intriguingly – material edited out.
As authors of the award-winning The Perfect Pair Dolphin Trilogy, we have had to walk a legal tightrope in bringing our story to the public, something that the vindictive Mr Dineley was all too aware of and used to his advantage. Thankfully, our gruelling exposé is now finished, so we no longer have to suffer in silence.
But before we address Mr Dineley’s post, we would like to cut through the bull that he’s been feeding the public for the past few decades.
Who is John Dineley?
He describes himself as an ex-sea lion/dolphin trainer from the 1970s – an expert, in fact. But in truth, he is anything but.
Whilst researching The Perfect Pair Dolphin Trilogy, we found nothing to suggest that Mr Dineley was ever recognised by his peers as a true trainer. His claim to fame appears to come solely from the vast amount of literature that he himself has posted. In fact, according to his CV, he spent much of his career moving from one training establishment to another - hardly a glowing recommendation for his self-publicised training talent. So please don’t be fooled by the propaganda of this manipulative man; his only attribute seems to be the size of his ego.
We will now address the offending blog itself, ever mindful of the legal constraints that we, as authors, still have to endure – meaning that we can neither confirm nor deny the names of the people and places so freely bandied about by Mr Dineley. However, what we can say is that Dineley clearly recognised the story chronicled in The Perfect Pair Dolphin Trilogy to be true and, when suggesting names, made care to omit those contemporaries with whom he still maintains contact.
This pro-captivity activist cynically referred to Capello as a man who worked for ‘a limited time as a dolphin presenter and trainer’, conveniently choosing to overlook Capello’s considerable achievements. First, Duchess and Herb’e - The Perfect Pair - two dolphins who worked in perfect unison, and the only dolphins in Europe to perform the legendary shadow ballet. Second, the miniature super team, Baby and Scouse - an illegally-imported infant and a dolphin blinded in captivity.
He also neglected to mention that the lords of the captive industry so revered Capello’s talent that, in an attempt to lure him out of his self-imposed retirement, they actually offered him Europe’s top training position.
However, Dineley did fantasize loudly about training methods, as he attempted to discredit Capello’s success with an accusation of cruelty - a ludicrous claim, as it was well known that Capello’s beloved Atlanteans would work only for him. Dineley pontificated extensively about ‘shake sessions’ - a training practice of which the world would have remained blissfully unaware had Capello himself not exposed it in our first book. Unbelievably, Dineley tried to attribute these shake sessions solely to Capello – something he later retracted.
Dineley, this self-professed dolphin expert, explained in vivid detail just what he believed a shake session to entail: ‘… locking animals in holding pens and beating metal polls [sic] on the pool floor and sides and shouting at the animals to cause them fear and distress.’ A truly horrendous description – and certainly not the shake session described in The Perfect Pair: The Enchanted Mirror.
Mr Dineley’s version of a shake session was infinitely more sinister, albeit described by a man who constantly claimed never to have witnessed this type of conditioning. Hard to believe when his general manager’s use of the stick is well-documented in forums throughout the internet. So ask yourself: during his training days, did Mr Dineley conveniently walk around with his eyes closed? Or is he doggedly maintaining the vow of silence that the captive industry demands of all its employees?
The truth is that this despicable blog was written for two purposes: one, to destroy the character of a man once hailed as Europe’s finest trainer; two, to defend and justify the keeping of captive cetaceans by discrediting the industry’s main whistle-blower.
John Dineley’s apparent hatred of everything Capello even manifested itself as a spiteful comment about Capello’s mentor, whom Dineley described as ‘… a former travelling salesman who stumbled into dolphin training …’.
And so to finish, this is our verdict. We believe that John Dineley is quite simply a non-entity with delusions of grandeur; a failed trainer who was forced to live in the shadow of the giant that was Capello. His vicious blog is nothing more than the result of decades of envy and animosity - all heaped against a man whom he met for barely 15 minutes.
‘Well, Mr Dineley, your worst nightmare has returned. Capello blew you away over 40 years ago … and now he’s back to do it all over again.’
David C Holroyd and Tracy J Holroyd
Members of the Society of Authors