Posted Jun 19, 2013 04:35 pm CDT
At first, those in charge of the maintenance at the historic Henderson County, N.C., courthouse tried poison to resolve an out-of-control rodent population.
But when a dead “Ratzilla” began decomposing in the walls of a county commissioner’s office, they decided there had to be a better solution to the problem. A cat named Rascal was brought in from the county’s animal control department, but he proved to be a scaredy-cat rather than a mouser and was adopted out to another home. Then they tried Mr. Jingles, another tabby at animal control who had been a backup candidate for the position.
Mr. Jingles, who has been on the job since May, has eliminated the courthouse rats, the Times-News reports.
“He’s the best employee I’ve got, and I don’t have to pay his health insurance,” county manager Steve Wyatt told the newspaper. The feline originally came to the courthouse wearing a collar with a bell, but managed to remove it himself and thus enhance his stealth approach to the rodent population.
Mr. Jingles is kept in non-public areas of the courthouse during business hours but roams freely at night. A bed, a litter box and cat toys are provided for him in the basement. During the work day, he enjoys visiting the legal and engineering departments.
Although new on the job, he has also demonstrated political skills, perhaps sensing somehow exactly who it is that covers the cost of cat chow. During a recent budget meeting, he tried to make an appearance before the county commissioners.
“He was outside the door, just going nuts,” said Megan Piner. She serves as the county’s environmental programs coordinator.
ABAJournal.com: “2 cats roam courthouse dome, tasked with scaring pigeons away”