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Indiana county uses cats to keep courthouse clean

Posted at 1:16 PM, Feb 28, 2013

By Joe LePage

Boone County, IN (WXIN) — Two cats have free reign of an Indiana 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.”

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.