Monday 16 June 2014

North Carolina Cat Sanctuary Fights Shooting Range Neighbor

June 14th 2014: I am astonished by this story. There appears to be a clear breach of planning regulations. However, I do not know the planning regulations for this area of the United States.

The Goathouse Refuge near Pittsboro have been in existence in the area for about 7 years and they currently care for about 200 cats including some other animals such as goats and dogs. This is a cat sanctuary and the pictures of it indicate that this is a well managed organisation

A business opened up next door.  The business is a shooting range, which is referred to as "Range 2A".  The range uses about 15 acres of a 71 acre plot owned by the business. They have plans to expand so even more noise seems likely!

You can guess what I am going to say next, I hope. The shooting range creates an awful lot of noise.

The domestic cat is very sensitive to noise and particularly the sort of noise that firearms make when they are fired. These are exactly the sorts of noises that domestic cats detest. They scare cats and create stress.

The cat sanctuary is appealing to Chatham County Board of Commissioners to close the shooting range. They have started a petition online. This is all very worthy stuff.

However, the question that I have is how did this shooting range business obtain planning permission to open up their business next door to a cat sanctuary that has been in existence on this site for 7 years?

It seems grossly unfair to me. Perhaps the business did not need planning permission at all but I would doubt that because every organisation or individual in any environment in the West requires some sort of planning permission when opening a business.

Did the cat sanctuary have sight of the planning application?  And if so did they have an opportunity to contest it?  Did they object to it? Was their voice heard and did they have a hearing at the local authority pursuant to the rules to put their case forward formally? These are the questions that need to be answered and if I was the owner of the cat sanctuary I would be making enquiries along these lines unless of course I am barking up the wrong tree because either there are no planning regulations in place, or there are regulations and there been complied with.

If the latter has happened I would appeal the decision of the local councillors. An appeal could take place in a local court for judicial review.

My gut feeling is that the best course of action is a legal one because petitions and requesting something from councillors has little chance of success in my opinion.

The shooting range business has issued a bland statement justifying their existence, unsurprisingly. But it does not address the central issue which is why they're there in the first place.  They have not responded to a request by the reporters of the Daily News to comment on the matter.

The Goathouse Refuge may have to close unless something is done about this shooting range.


  1. I have doubts that there are any planning regulations in place. Most likely, the only places a shooting range couldn't be located would be by a church, hospital, or school.
    It's also unlikely that the cat sanctuary had any prior knowledge of its intension to occupy that space.
    It's sad, especially since there are plans to expand. Stray bullets are nothing to sneeze at. Tragic incidents occur rarely; but, they do occur.
    I hope the sanctuary gives a good fight.

    1. If there are no planning regulations this is a defect in the law because a shooting range is a very disruptive business because of the reasons stated and it affects many neighbours. They should be sited away from people. I am very disappointed to hear this. Thanks Dee.

    2. Apparently they are calling themselves a pricate club, hence business laws should not apply to them. Bars in nc have to do the same thing all the time to navigate a.l.e. laws...

    3. Thanks for this. Business laws might not apply but the common law applies to everything and everybody equally.

  2. You are both highly ignorant to how lands are zoned for human use. I.e.: residential, commercial, industrial, rural, farming, etc. Apparently if someone can get away with rearing invasive species vermin (cats) then their neighbor has every right to also use their land for something like rearing pythons, cobras, jackals, coyote, or whatever. Though in this case it seems that a shooting range is superfluous and redundant.

    I found, that by having to clear my lands of cats, that cat-owners and their cats showed and proved to me that I had a hidden skill as an expert marksman. Which, now that cats are gone and my lands are starting to recover from cat-devastation the area is becoming excellent habitat for wild-turkeys, grouse, and other ground-nesting birds that are starting to appear in abundance. (All this ground-nesting NATIVE wildlife that cats had previously annihilated.) This newfound marksman skill of mine might come in handy to provide myself with a natural food-source one day.

    One of the very last cats I had shot was about 100 yards away in the dead of the night (2am) one winter as it took a full-run at 90-degrees from my vantage point, down a shoveled snow-path out to the road, quickly disappearing in the dim light from the open door. The only light further out was the laser-sight's light bouncing off the snow, pitch-black otherwise. I fired into the dark, to where I knew the cat was running to. I went out to check to make sure it wasn't suffering but didn't find it, figuring I missed. NOBODY could have made that shot, I thought. The next morning I found it behind a kick of snow not 2 feet from where I had aimed into the dark that night. It must have died in mid-bound and dropped right there, running at full speed, 100 yards away, in the pitch dark. If anyone wants to get their rifle or hunting skills up to snuff I HIGHLY advise they use cats for lessons. Hunters I've known often advise this, but I didn't believe them (having never been a hunter before this) until I had to shoot cats myself. Shooting cats with their wary, darty, and furtive behavior and small size are much more difficult targets than anyone would first think. And if you love animals, as much as I do, and don't want any of them to suffer, you'll be damned sure you are an excellent shot. You won't pull that trigger unless you are instinctively certain that that cat is going to die instantly.

    Who needs a shooting-range when cats are plentiful?

    1. Firstly stop being rude to me. I know far more law than you'll ever know. Secondly you are waffling on about irrelevancies. I want to know why this range was allowed to set up business next to a cat sanctuary.

    2. Both businesses are located in an Unzoned area of the County and there are no regulations preventing both organizations from existing.

    3. This is my answer to you Nature advocate!!!!!
      Cats are not vermin, you piece of Republican, Ugly Ass Tobacco Chewin BIGOT .
      BRING IT ON!!!
      THe GOATHOUSE will win this war against you sociopathic losers who hide behind your guns!!!!!

      ...with your Southern confederate 'hate' and your guntotin ,white trash talkin ...
      You are a rotting toothless toxic waste of a subhuman...LOL!!
      Love to get my hands on you MOTHER FUCKA!

    4. Thank you anonymous for your comment. He is exactly as you describe him ;)

    5. "Both businesses are located in an Unzoned area of the County and there are no regulations preventing both organizations from existing."

      Sorry but you are missing my point. A lack of regulations does not prevent the cat sanctuary owner suing in the tort of nuisance - a common law remember.

    6. "You are both highly ignorant to how lands are zoned for human use. I.e.: residential, commercial, industrial, rural, farming, etc. Apparently if someone can get away with rearing invasive species vermin (cats) then their neighbor has every right to also use their land for something like rearing pythons, cobras, jackals, coyote, or whatever."

      This is complete mumbo jumbo.

  3. Thank you Michael. This is a devastating situation. This is not only a wonderful cat sanctuary and home to rescued dogs and goats also, it is Siglinda Scarpa's home of many years, her pottery studio, and her beautiful garden. She and her animals cannot stay there under these conditions. Where will they go? Her property will be worthless now. Keep advocating. She needs us all.

    1. Ann, thanks for commenting. I would love to help this sanctuary. It is grossly unfair what is happening. I believe that there is a way forward using the law. You may know that I am a retired solicitor (a lawyer in the UK). If planning permission is not required for this shooting range (which would surprise me) then I would have thought some sort of legal action that revolves around the tort of nuisance may be effective. I think initially a request to the city councillors is worth trying but I doubt whether it will bear fruit.

      There may also be a possibility to challenge their existence under the complicated regulations governing the opening of a shooting range in the USA but I live in the UK. As I understand it, quite a lot of people living in residential areas challenge the existence of shooting ranges because it disturbs their piece.

      The key to this is this: the cat sanctuary was there first and shooting range came afterwards and therefore the onus is on the shooting range to not interfere with the amenity of the cat sanctuary.

      It seems to me that when you're dealing with businesses who like to run shooting ranges you are dealing with the sort of people who only understand a good kick up the backside. If you want me to do any more work on this will help in any way then just ask.

    2. I've looked at NC's laws relating to firing ranges; a few years back they passed a law stating that noise cannot be a reason to sue one unless it is in violation of local ordinances. Chatham County has no ordinances against noise in this area; it's literally unzoned. I've visited the Refuge several times and love it, but this may be a case where the firing range is there and there's little anyone can do about it. The only avenue possible may be about the owner's claim that it was a private range and not a business. As he's charging fees and membership dues, it is clearly a business of some sort.

    3. Hi Bendal. I have to say that I believe you are incorrect that it is not possible to sue the shooting range in the law of tort. This is common law. Essentially, it is not possible to restrict the application of common law through ordinances or statute. There has to be some form of legal recourse under the circumstances. There are quite possibly a number of avenues but the one that comes to my mind is the tort of nuisance, as mentioned. There may also be covenants in respect of the land. I don't know how the land on which the cat sanctuary was purchased or obtained. But there may be a covenant attached to the land on which the shooting range exists which forbids them from doing certain things which interferes with neighbouring parcels of land. That is unlikely but it is a possibility.

      The following is a brief extract of what the tort of nuisance means:

      A private nuisance involves a particular injury to a specific individual landowner. In this case, the suit against the wrongdoer may be brought by the affected individual. If he can establish that his enjoyment of his property was significantly diminished, he may recover monetary damages and/or injunctive relief.

      When you stand back and look at this anybody exercising a degree of common sense will agree that are wrong has taken place and the person or persons suffering the wrong is a lady who owns the cat sanctuary and the perpetrator is the shooting range. This is common sense. Where something looks wrong on a commonsense basis is nearly always possible to seek compensation or an injunction under the law. It is simply a question of finding the relevant process.

    4. Guess what? Those very same laws can be used to sue the cat-lickers. Careful what you wish for. LOL

      The ONLY reason they can get away with harboring an invasive species is due to the very reason that the firing-range can exist. If you want your freedom, you can't deny anyone else theirs!

    5. Your comment as usual demonstrates your ignorance. Absolute freedoms can't exist. There has to be a balance between competing rights and in this case the cat sanctuary's right has been infringed by the shooting range as they cause a nuisance. They could sue in the tort of nuisance at least potentially or under a covenant that might be attached to this land. This is common law.

  4. The wonderful backlash to all of this .... if you push someone's going to shove. *ALL* your VERMIN invasive species cats will be shot dead -- LEGALLY.


    But Michael doesn't care about that. He ONLY cares about manipulating everyone in his world because he has ZERO control over his own pathetic life.

    Cats are an expendable nuisance animal (i.e. VERMIN). Don't you get that yet? :-)

    1. Jimbo you have no idea what my life is like or whether I have or have not got control over it so please have the decency not to comment about my life. It just tells the world how unpleasant you are when you do that sort of thing. For your information, my life is controlled and I am well organised.

      Secondly, I have no interest whatsoever in manipulating anybody. My only interest is the welfare of domestic, stray, and feral cats with respect to this website. Of course, I do have other interests and they're all about decency and honesty.

      You are the person who is trying to manipulate information by disseminating misinformation. Cats are not expendable nuisance animals but you certainly are expendable yourself, in fact the world would be a lot better without you!


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