Cop cat Sgt. Butters got the boot — and this North Carolina town demands answers

Screengrab from Mocksville Police Department's Twitter

The residents of a small town in North Carolina have started an online petition and a Facebook page. They’ve tweeted at the town and the police department. They have even started a hashtag — #savesargebutters.

All for a cat.

Sgt. Butters is the Mocksville Police Department therapy cat rescued by officers last summer. Residents say he had his own Facebook page and a slew of fans in the community.

That is until this week, when the cop cat was reportedly removed from the police department and his Facebook page taken down, sending Mocksville — a town of 5,000 people roughly 60 miles north of Charlotte — into bedlam.

“In a time of such divisiveness and negativity, why would the town take away something that sparks joy?” one resident said on the petition.

The petition attributes the sudden disappearance of their favorite cat to a decision by the town’s governing board, which allegedly called Sgt. Butters’ Facebook page “unprofessional.”

“We are trying to get the story out to as many people and news outlets as possible to convince the town to allow Sarge Butters to continue his good work in the community!” Ivan Nichols, who started the petition, wrote on the page. “Please help us convince my hometown of Mocksville, NC that a little happiness goes a long way!”

More than 200 residents had signed the petition by early Wednesday afternoon. —

Dozens more have posted on the “Save Sarge Butters” Facebook page that was created in his fan page’s absence, saying things like “Make your voice heard!” and “The city council of Mocksville will hear us roar soon!”

Police Major Koula Black told McClatchy news group on Wednesday that Sgt. Butters’ removal from the department is only temporary. He’s staying with a foster mom in town, she said.

The Facebook page is getting a “face lift,” she said, while some reconstruction at the police department necessitated his temporary rehoming.

Sgt. Butters reportedly found his way to the Mocksville police station last August.

Black told WXII12 at the time that they decided to keep him after the second day, saying he had a tangible effect on the office mood.

The cat received his “sergeant” title after reportedly coercing a confession from a suspect caught in a high-speed chase with officers, according to the cat blog “Cole & Marmalade.”

The suspect, who was initially quite upset, confessed to the crime thanks to Sgt. Butters’ calming presence, WXII reported.

Sgt. Butters has had a steady presence on social media ever since.

Lexington County Coroner Margret Fisher keeps a cat at the office as a therapy pet, an action some call objectionable. County council says the cat must go. Matt Walsh

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Hayley is a Real Time reporter at The Charlotte Observer covering breaking news and trending stories in the Carolinas. She also created the Observer’s unofficial bird beat (est. 2015) with a summer full of ornithological-related content, including a story about Barred Owls in love.