Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Lions and Tigers in Caswell County, North Carolina

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh No!

Caswell County Board of County Commissioners Meeting June 7, 2010

Commissioner Hall came before the Board to discuss citizen’s concerns with the Conservators’ Center. The Center holds all kinds of animals like lions, tigers, wolves, coyotes, Australian bush dogs, etc. Citizens are concerned because some of the animals have been getting out resulting in a couple of sightings of lions in and around the compound. Commissioner Hall stated that when the citizens talked to the operators they denied that any of the animals are getting out. The citizens have pictures of paw prints that are four inches wide outside the Center. Commissioner Hall stated that the citizens would like the board to do a review of the security of the compound and make an adjustment. One elderly lady is afraid to come outside of her house. Commissioner Hall stated that the citizens are also concerned about cages in and around the compound that the operators will not allow them to see when they go into the Center with the operators saying the cages and fences are not strong enough if the animals get excited.

Commissioner Hall stated that the citizens would like for the Board to have someone to investigate. Commissioner Hall suggests the Board to form an ad-hoc committee of Animal Control, APS, and Sheriff’s Office to go out and look at the compound since they will have the authority to look in places the operators do not want the citizens to see. There is concern that the fences are not strong enough and there are trees around the compound, especially in an emergency like a storm where a tree falls on a fence and the animals get out. Commissioner Hall said the citizen’s main concern is security followed by noise. Commissioner Satterfield stated that no one with APS, Animal Control, or the Sheriff’s Office has any expertise in containment of wild animals. Commissioner Hall responded by saying that those are the people on the County staff and that if they go out there and say they do not understand enough to do anything then the Board can send in someone who does as the Board needs to act. Chairman Ward asked if the Board could send someone down there to take a look and go on the property. Michael Ferrell, County Attorney, stated that if they refused you admission you will need to have a search warrant but you cannot assume they will refuse you. Manager Howard stated that the Center has to have a federal permit issued by the USDA to have exotic animals. Mr. Howard said that he would get Animal Control and someone from the Sheriff’s Office to go down and take a look. Commissioner Hall stated that as County Manager you can do it that way but if they respond back by saying they do not want to do it then report that back to the Board.


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