Local News

Boone County uses cats to keep courthouse clean

Two cats have free reign of a local courthouse and no one wants them gone.  They are standing guard and keeping some unwanted guests away.

You no doubt have heard of bats in the belfry, but what about cats in the courthouse?

“I think it is a great idea, said Stacy Dempster.  “I was shocked at first.”

Believe it.

Walk to the middle of the Boone County Courthouse and look straight up. Chances are you will see either Boone or Panda. They are the cats who call the courthouse their home.

“This is their home basically, all the way around the dome here,” said courthouse Maintenance Director Mike Miller.

It is the job of Boone and Panda to look out the window for pigeons and then scare them off.  The maintenance crew says it is working, not only for the courthouse and the dome, but also for all of downtown Lebanon as well.

“The mess was falling in front of the entrance door, and we were having to clean that up on a daily basis,” said Miller.  “We did not want that.”

Both cats were taken in when they were kittens.  Every day someone makes the trek to the top floor to feed and clean up after the pair.  Miller said scooping up kitty litter is easier than scraping up what pigeons leave behind.

“I have had to do that here,” said Miller.  “It was a big mess.  After that we knew we did not want to be without the cats anymore.”

The cats have a doggie door. They go outside the courthouse dome anytime they want.  Courthouse employees like Tammey King find themselves stopping and staring, hoping to catch a glimpse.

“I do, yeah. (It’s) not very often (that) you see them,” said King.  “They kind of hide I think.”

King said Panda and Boone also add something special to the county and the county’s courthouse.

“Absolutely yeah, that and the beauty of the courthouse,” said King.  “It is a beautiful courthouse.”

Miller said Boone and Panda have saved the county thousands of dollars in cleanup costs and man hours.

Boone is male and Panda is female, but you do not have to worry about more cats being born and joining the pair inside the Boone County courthouse. Panda has been spayed.


30 Comments to “Boone County uses cats to keep courthouse clean”

    Guest said:
    February 28, 2013 at 9:06 AM

    My daughter loves to look up at the courthouse as we are driving by to see if she can spot Boone or Panda!

    Ric said:
    February 28, 2013 at 10:15 AM

    Kinda disappointed that the person who actually does the most care & feeding of the cats wasn't interviewed or even mentioned. My daughter-in-law Jaima (the crazy cat lady) does most of it. And btw, those cats have had a litter or two of kittens before Panda was spade, & guess who took care of the kittens then found them homes? Yep, Jaima.

      Guest said:
      March 1, 2013 at 1:37 AM

      Nobody cared when this was written, nobody cares now.

      Janet said:
      March 1, 2013 at 2:48 AM

      Why wasn't Boone neutered? Cheaper and easier and less risky to the cat.

      Guest said:
      March 1, 2013 at 11:38 AM

      Actually Maintence comes in even on the weekend to take care of the cats. They do a really good job and clean their box DAILY. They do not smell at all. Jaima may visit them but the Maintence workers do deserve the credit for taking care of them.

    MichCats said:
    February 28, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    What strikes me as a mistake is that Boone hasn't been neutered.

      clare said:
      February 28, 2013 at 2:19 PM

      I shocked to notice the same omission!
      This needs to be done to be considered a responsible animal caretaker. There is no reason not to do it. (I'm sure a local vet would be happy to donate services if needed)

    Wickie said:
    February 28, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    You are correct, Boone absolutely should be spayed or more kittens will be born somewhere, plus male cat "marking".

    Cathi said:
    February 28, 2013 at 6:11 PM

    I believe the cats have free REIN, not reign. Although they may consider themselves royalty…

    kybo61 said:
    February 28, 2013 at 8:53 PM

    It's free "rein," not "reign." Jesus God. Are all journalists illiterate these days? I see this kind of thing every single day. PLEASE. I would be happy to proof any publication for a reasonable fee.

      Gloria said:
      March 1, 2013 at 3:31 PM

      And do all commmentors take the Name in vain?

        anon said:
        March 1, 2013 at 6:08 PM

        Gloria, we can all be thankful that the "F" bomb wasn't dropped in this thread; yesterday in another article a commentor used the f-word very liberally & even threatened the life of a person who disagreed with him. People need to try to remember that you can state your opinions in these forums, but that people should watch their language; some people get offended by it.

    kelly b said:
    February 28, 2013 at 10:32 PM

    wow, bet it stinks to hell. if you can't smell a cat, you have no sense of smell.

    BrianKeith said:
    March 1, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    I've lived within view of the court house my whole 26 years and always thought this was a myth. Weird that the word "Lebanon" was never mentioned.

    Perry said:
    March 1, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    Brian Keith, try reading the whole article…

    "It is the job of Boone and Panda to look out the window for pigeons and then scare them off. The maintenance crew says it is working, not only for the courthouse and the dome, but also for all of downtown Lebanon as well."

    Onlyforme Toknow said:
    March 2, 2013 at 2:13 AM

    Excerpt from Department of Homeland Security “Code of Conduct” for federal buildings…

    § 102-74.425 What is the policy concerning dogs and other animals on Federal property?

    No person may bring dogs or other animals on Federal property for other than official purposes. However, a disabled person may bring a seeing-eye dog, a guide dog, or other animal assisting or being trained to assist that individual.

    Please define “Official Purposes”. Are cats an exception?

      Cathi said:
      March 2, 2013 at 6:15 AM

      The courthouse would be county property, not federal.

    Patty said:
    March 5, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    If they don't neuter the male cat he will search out another female and will begin to spray which will result in a smell. Being responsible means taking care of both cats.

    Fernando said:
    March 18, 2013 at 1:11 AM

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    Tad said:
    March 20, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    Hi there, how are things? I just shared this information with a coworker, there was a great chuckle.