Police Dept Cat Gets His Pink Slip

More than 50 people gathered Aug. 20 inside the chambers of the Mocksville, NC Town Board of Commissioners, and several more stood in the Town Hall’s lobby.

It was the largest crowd ever to attend the monthly meeting of the town board.

The reason for the turnout? Concerns about the fate of Sgt. Butters, the feline mascot of the Mocksville Police Department, who was removed from the department and whose Facebook page was taken down last week. A town commissioner was reportedly concerned about the cat’s presence around a pregnant employee who has said that she was cannot be around cats.

On Aug. 20, the mayor attempted to reassure the crowd that Sgt. Butters is living comfortably at the home of a friend of the police department.

The American male short-hair tabby “is being well cared for and regular updates of his antics are provided to the department staff,” Marklin said. “We express our gratitude for all of the concern about Sarge Butters. He looks forward to continuing his role as (a) mascot of the community.”

Sgt. Butters didn’t attend the meeting.

Officers rescued the cat in 2018 after spotting him around the department’s building on Main Street. They nursed him back to the health and he had been allowed him to stay in the police department’s offices.

Marklin said that the year-old cat’s social media page will return soon with its usual posts and pictures.

“While decisions regarding social media and Sarge Butters are made by town management and have not been addressed by the (town) board, the commitment of this agency to protect and serve the citizens of Mocksville remains our first priority, and as always, we will protect the well-being of Sarge Butters.”

Marklin spoke about the cat before a public-comment period in which four people told the town board about their concerns regarding Sgt. Butters. Afterward, the town’s board took no action regarding Sgt. Butters, and none of the five town commissioners spoke about the cat.

Alan Bagshaw of Mount Airy, a native of Mocksville, said he was troubled that town officials haven’t spoken much publicly about the cat’s fate.

“Silence is the message that the town of Mocksville has sent, to the nation and not just Mocksville,” Bagshaw said.

“True, Sgt. Butters is just a cat. We all want what is best for him.”

Bagshaw described Marklin’s statement about Sgt. Butters as ambiguous. Rumors are circulating about the cat because town officials have declined to publicly discuss Sgt. Butters, Bagshaw said.

“If Sgt. Butters is able to be cared for, and the police department is not the suitable place for him, I understand,” Bagshaw said. “But let’s talk about it. What the town of Mocksville did is set a precedent that they will treat a living creature as just a piece of property and throw it away when it’s no longer needed.”

Susan Whitener of Advance, a representative of the Save Sarge Butters Facebook Page, said that town officials should have considered the public’s concerns about the cat.

“Then one day, last week … Sarge was evicted from the probably only home that he’s ever known,” Whitener said. “Ripped from all of his fans and supporters, Sgt. Butters was gone. You should all be ashamed. I beg you to rethink your decision.”

Barry Williams of Advance acknowledged that Sgt. Butters is a good public-relations image for the police department, but he said that the public’s concern for him might be misplaced.

“We are sitting here worrying about a cat,” Williams said. “He has a place to eat and a place to sleep. Where are people’s concerns about the homeless people in Mocksville?

“Is all of this really necessary?” Williams asked. “It’s a waste of the public’s time.”

After the town board’s meeting, Marklin declined to say whether Sgt. Butters was living in a home in Mocksville or somewhere else in Davie County. Town Manager Matt Settlemyer declined to comment on the matter.

In addition, Police Chief Patrick Reagan declined to discuss Sgt. Butters.

“My job is to run the department,” Reagan said. “We serve and protect our citizens in Mocksville. We will continue to do that.”

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Mousebreath Magazine is an award-winning online magazine that celebrates cats and the cat-centric lifestyle. Editor Karen Nichols is a popular conference speaker and writer, whose current project is The Cat Scout Handbook. She is also the denmaster at CatScouts.com.

Comments (11)

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  1. Oh dear. When it would be so easy to reassure folk – folk who care – the ignoramus sit silent. Talk about making matters worse. Of course the police will continue to serve and do what they need to do, but compassion and understanding are part of that role. I hope someone gets taken to task at some point for failing here.
    ERin

  2. Katie Isabella says:

    What a prime bunch of jerks that town management is. Obviously Williams is a cat hater. I hope the cat really is alright.

  3. KesterGayle says:

    Cats need more than just a place to sleep and eat, as do homeless people. Being concerned about one does not preclude concern for the other. A few pictures of Sgt. Butters being loved and cared for, playing in his new home, and living the good life would go a long way toward relieving the minds of his supporters. Maybe it’s time for a call to animal control to do a little welfare check on the good Sergeant. Meanwhile, if the citizens of Mocksville would make some generous donations to local services for the town’s homeless population, they could not only help a lot of people, they could demonstrate that their caring doesn’t stop with fur people.

  4. Lee Bordenet says:

    What’s up with the woman who is pregnant and “can’t be around cats?” I would guess she didn’t like the cat in the first place and being pregnant just provides an excuse to complain about him. The town commissioners need to have the courage to stand up to her.

  5. Oh dear, I hope they didn’t dump him at the animal shelter. And shame on that PG woman, there is no reason a PG WOMAN can’t be around cats as long as she doesn’t change the litter box. We always had cats even when I was PG with my two boys. Hubby just took care of the litter box. I think it’s very suspicious they will not say where he is at. ~Alasandra

    PS: The cats and dogs were too upset to write.

  6. Mary McNeil says:

    All the obfuscating language makes everything suspicious. Why not just say one of the employees adopted him ? IF that’s what happened.

  7. Ellen Pilch says:

    What a bunch of crap. There is no reason a pregnant woman can’t be near a cat.

  8. KesterGayle says:

    We don’t know anything about the woman’s health situation, so it’s best to be careful about judging. Perhaps she has severe animal allergies exacerbated by her pregnancy, who knows?

    Those that are concerned for Sgt. Butters need to continue us to be vocal, to get the press involved, contact PITA and other animal rights organizations, and just generally be a pain in the asterisk until they get answers. A protest march at the PD might be effective, too.

  9. Comparing caring for humans to caring for cats is stupid. Poor Butters was mishandled from the start, and I can only hope the wee kitty is living it up in his new home.

  10. If more Police Departments had mascots like Sgt. Butters, they’d be much better off in terms of community relations and goodwill. Also, the cats could provide calming therapy to people at the station for questioning or other reasons.

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