Pilot Mountain, North Carolina is a small town with a population of 1,444 (2016 statistics) It’s known for its connection with Mayberry and The Andy Griffith Show. This week the town is gaining a reputation on social media of being unfriendly to stray cats. One person stated her opinion on a new ordinance forbidding the feeding of feral and community cats saying “Andy and Barney would never go for this.”
The Pilot Mountain Board of Commissioners recently passed a ban forbidding the feeding of wild animals within town limits. Commissioner Evan Cockerham says there have been complaints of vultures and skunks being fed and they’re causing damage to homes.
Apparently, the Board of Commissioners believes feral cats are attracting other wildlife to the town. Vultures have damaged shingles on several homes but since vultures are a protected migratory bird, nothing can be done about them.
With Commissioner Kim Quinn out of town, the Board voted 3-0 in favor of the ordinance.
According to a report by Mt. Airy News, the ordinance reads
“The Board of Commissioners has received complaints from members of the community regarding the unsafe feeding of wild animals inside the corporate limits of the town. … The Board of Commissioners believes it to be in the best interest of the citizens of the town of Pilot Mountain to amend Chapter 6 of its Code of Ordinances to regulate the feeding of certain wild animals.
Wild animals are any animal which is not normally domesticated in this state, including, but not limited to, bears, coyotes, deer, feral cats, foxes, groundhogs, opossums, raccoons, skunks, turkeys and waterfowl, and any domesticated, unlicensed animal, including but not limited to stray cats and/or dogs.
The keeping, possession, harboring or feeding of wild animals which threaten the public health, safety and welfare of the community shall be unlawful.
Each subsequent day that a violation continues is considered to be a separate violation subject to escalating penalties.”
Police Chief Darryl Bottoms was asked by Commissioner Linda Needham to place more signs around town, as many haven’t seen the ban and are violating the ordinance. The penalty for violating the ordinance is $100 for the first offense, $250 for the second and $1,000 for the third.
Regular birds can be fed by the public, but the ordinance states “It shall be unlawful to distribute feed to or feed turkey, ducks, geese, other water fowl and other large birds.”
N.C. General Statute 160A-186 gives the town the authority to regulate domestic animals in the town limits and Statute 160A-187 gives the town the authority to prohibit wild or dangerous animals in the town limits.
Local businesses in town are standing behind the new ordinance. One person asked her manager if she could return after work to feed the feral cats who gather on the property at night. She was told she’d be terminated, even though she would be feeding the colony on her own time.
Some who have read the news are already commenting they’re crossing Pilot Mountain off of their road trip list.
Feral cat advocates are working behind the scenes to come up with a plan to help the cats. So far, no one has stepped up that can help the cats. If any of the readers know of anyone who can help, please leave a comment below. The administrators behind the Facebook: Trap-Neuter-Return Community will be monitoring this article in case a good suggestion comes through.