In The Case Of Sarge Butters, We Finally Have Some Answers

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For a cat, they often choose their people. And Sergeant Butterscotch—AKA Sarge Butters—is no different. As a lonely little stray cat, he found his way to the Mocksville Police Department building. It seemed like the purrfect place for him as he was well-received almost instantly. But as we know in life, not all people are cat people, unfortunately.

We previously shared the plight of the beloved ginger tabby, Sarge Butters.

He’s captivated the attention of millions of residents outside of his small town in North Carolina. Recently, his Facebook page disappeared though! And with the removal of his dedicated page, his fans and admirers wanted answers—right meow! For weeks, the good people of Mocksville were at an unrest. And rightfully so, I must say.

What could this sweet cat, who was once just a lonely ginger kitty in search of a home, have done to make him lose his home and the people of the MPD that he loved dearly?

It appears that the initially, the main speculation centered around a pregnant woman who works at the police department. Apparently, she feared for her health in the presence of the now celebrity cat. To most people who know anything about how pregnancy works, it seemed bizarre and entirely unfair to the feline. Toxoplasmosis can put a pregnant woman at risk–should she be changing the litter box without gloves. But I don’t think that’s the case here, and has a very easy resolution. Don’t clean the litter box. 

Original message from the Save Sarge Butters FB page

So the removed Facebook page that was dedicated to Sarge Butters, was said to be “under construction”.

But it will be reinstated. That is, once the MPD makes the necessary changes they feel will better reflect their department as a whole.

In a series of texts and emails shared from the local WXII 12 News, it seems that we are now seeing some more hidden meanings behind the rehoming of Sarge Butters. Keep reading to preview the information we’ve copy and pasted from their latest news coverage on all things Sarge Butters:

The first pushback against Butters is noted on April 7. One day before, on April 6, a couple was hit by a car in downtown Mocksville. The “Sarge Butters” Facebook page made a post:

“Late last evening, an incident occurred in the town of Mocksville. A couple was struck by a vehicle while they were crossing North Main Street. This incident is still under investigation. We want to remind our citizens that warmer weather brings out more pedestrian traffic. Please take caution while driving in areas with high foot traffic and always obey speed limits. We also ask that pedestrians use crosswalks and sidewalks for safety. We will keep the public updated as details about this incident continue to emerge,” the Facebook post reads.

The following text messages were sent from Amy Vaughan-Jones, town board member, to Settlemyer after the post was made.

“The FB post should come down!”

Settlemyer responded with:

“I will take care of it.”

He adds: “I’m sure they were trying to get out some info about being safe downtown now that the weather is nicer. We will create a page to separate the PR element from the press release info that needs to be distributed to the public.”

Vaughan-Jones replied: “Sounds like a great idea and maybe not from the cat!”

Fast-forward to Aug. 9.

Brent Ward, mayor pro-tem of Mocksville, sent an email to Settlemyer and to members of the board. The email reads in part:

“Matt, you and I discussed on July 8th, 2019 — one month ago, in your office, about not only my concern, but the concerns of other board members, of the structure of the Mocksville Police Department. To this date, I personally have seen no improvements or have heard no updates as you assured me you would.

Therefore, I am requesting an executive session with the board on August 20 at our next board meeting so the entire board can be updated on the issues of this department, other issues, and how we move forward. I see these concerns as urgent. I would like this executive session to be placed on the agenda for that night.”

One day later, Ward said to the board via e-mail: “I think it would be a good idea that the Facebook page of Sarge Butters be taken down permanently. This should not be the face of our police department.”

Ward’s second e-mail came after Settlemyer sent a notice to the town board about a post that was “not appropriate.”

“Today (Saturday, Aug 10), a post was shared on the Sarge Butters Facebook page about Jeffrey Epstein that was not appropriate. It was apparently posted accidentally and removed within 20 minutes, but it was still in violation of the town’s social media policy. The responsible party has been disciplined.”

From the Save Sarge Butters Facebook group:

On Aug. 14, Settlemyer informed the board of a final decision:

“Sarge Butters is in the process of being re-homed because we have a pregnant officer and the FB page is being re-designed to better reflect the Mocksville PD.”

In another text message thread between Settlemyer and Vaughan-Jones, date unknown, Butters becomes another topic of discussion.

Vaughan-Jones says in part: “Good afternoon Matt! Also wanted to ask about having a pregnant female officer at the PD with the cat and litter box? From my understanding, there is a litter box in the female bathroom which could be fatal for the female officer. If the cat is Officer Black’s cat, it might be prudent for the cat to be taken to Black’s home residence! I love animals but I am concerned for the officers health and that of the unborn child!”

Vaughan-Jones goes on to say: “I had stopped a few minutes today and stopped in to the PD! When was the last time you were there? I noticed the cat was still there and lots of cat toys in the front office area! There was a litter box with litter in it in the women’s bathroom!”

Settlemyer replied saying that he will look into the issue.

Vaughan-Jones says: “My feeling is that we MUST do a much better job with managing the PD.”

On a different day, after Facebook protests regarding Sgt. Butters, Vaughan-Jones writes to Settlemyer saying in part: “Someone who is speaking and writing for the cat has begun this FB protest! So again, I ask who writes for Sgt. Butters? Which Officer is responsible! And I would not be surprised if there is some health law that prevents the cat in a public work space if they ARE NOT A SERVICE ANIMAL! Who is in charge at the PD? The Cat?”

Another group chat, between the mayor, and town board members Brian Williams and Rob Taylor, shows frustration at the controversy surrounding Sgt. Butters.

“I go to the beach for a few days and I’m now receiving calls late at night claiming I’m getting rid of Sarge Butters and a bad person because of it. I just read the FB posts. Seriously?! So what the hell happened?,” Taylor wrote.

“I’m getting calls from WXII for the last 2 days. Apparently, AVJ (Amy Vaughan-Jones) went up 2 PD night before last and said something about getting rid of Butters. I assured WXII it was not a board decision as we will not be meeting until Tuesday. I’m getting calls from folks saying they will no longer buy from my store because I hate cats,” replied William Marklin, town mayor. “Pat Reagan is at beach too.”

Reagan is the chief of police.

“I’m staying here. Much more relaxing,” Taylor replied.

Taylor also sent a message to Settlemyer: “I literally got a call from a lady last night after 10:00 p.m., who must like cats, basically blaming me and the board for hating cats and getting rid of Sarge Butters. Of course, she called from a blocked number and would not leave her name or number.”

On Tuesday, the 20th, the Mayor confirmed that Sarge Butters is living with a friend of the department, where he will remain.

It’s reported that he is “comfortable and happy” in his new home, even if it means that he’ll have to step out of the limelight and spend the rest of his days as just an ordinary house cat.

And on Sunday, August 25th, the Sarge Butters Facebook page made a new post…

Seeing a photo of a seemingly sad cat on a bed with no date reference has not done much to calm his fans though. And no one has provided any more answers OR photos. So, only time will tell at this point.

I myself have given birth to three children, and never once did I think to rehome my cats because I was pregnant. We know that Sarge Butters is not a service animal, but the Mocksville Police Department was his home. We wish him the very best during his adjustment period, and that he and his new owner will have a happy, long life together.

If you’d like to watch the local news clip on Sarge Butters, see below:

Story written in conjunction with Catitude Daily – Modi Ramos

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