• 57°

County plans to use vulture effigy, enforce violations to remedy animal carcass feeding problem

SALISBURY — A vulture effigy will be deployed to remedy a problem that has plagued a neighborhood in Rowan County for several months.

The Rowan County Board of Commissioners at its meeting Monday heard an update from staff about the county’s ongoing response to complaints about a resident feeding pieces of a deer carcass to their dogs in plain view of neighbors. That feeding practice has led to the congregation of dozens of vultures in a neighborhood in the Beck Road area who have taken to feeding on the leftover bones.

Although commissioners at a meeting last month tabled a vote on creating a new ordinance that would outlaw the practice, they instructed county staff to explore other ways to fix the problem.

One solution will be to hang a vulture effigy, complete with real vulture feathers, from a structure in the neighborhood in order to deter scavengers from flocking to the yard where the feeding has occurred. 

“The way this works is that if you hang the effigy upside down in an area that is highly visible to the area to the vultures they won’t come in,” said Bob Pendergass, director of Animal Services. “This is a warning to them that this is a bad place to get food.”

The vulture effigy will be loaned to the county by a wildlife agency at no cost, Rowan County Attorney Jay Dees said. It is scheduled to arrive and be deployed later this week. Dees said that the county hopes to work with the homeowner to hang the vulture effigy on their property, but said that he imagines a neighbor would be willing to help them hang the warning sign as well.

As a part of its response, the county sent representatives from the Health Department, Animal Services and Environmental Services to inspect the property. Dees was among the representatives who visited the property and said that the sight of 12-14 vultures gathered in the yard was “startling.”

The visits from department representatives yielded two notices of public health nuisances and one warning citation for waste disposal. 

The Health Department found the conditions of the property, located at 175 Beck Road, constituted a public health nuisance pursuant to North Carolina General Statute 130A-19 and 153A-140. 

“What I’ve determined is that the practice of regularly feeding animal parts in a densely populated residential area is a public health nuisance,” Dees said.

As a result, the homeowner is ordered to abate the public health nuisance by ceasing to feed their dogs pieces of animal carcasses. An administrative hearing on the violations and order is set for Feb. 12. The homeowner will have 30 days after the administrative hearing to appeal the order to a superior court, Dees said. The homeowner will be mailed a notice of the public health nuisances and a copy will also be hand delivered.

The homeowner was also issued a warning citation for violating Rowan County’s Solid Waste Ordinance and will have 14 days to remedy the situation by removing the “solid and bulky waste accumulations” on their property or face risk of a fine of up to $500. The county will also be able to remove the waste accumulation itself if it’s not removed by the homeowner in that two-week window.

Commissioner Craig Pierce pointed to the lengths the county has had to undergo to remedy the situation as a reason why the ordinance outlawing the practice should have been passed.

“Look at the cost — all because we don’t have something that prevents him or that he could be cited for feeding his animals body parts,” Pierce said. “I don’t get this.”

County Manager Aaron Church said that it was “going to take time” to fix the problem.

That worries Pierce. 

“My concern is that, like (Church) said, it’s going to take time to get us back to square one,” Pierce said. “What happens if this happens again? How long will it take us to revert back? How long before a child gets hurt?”

Chairman Greg Edds questioned whether the county would’ve had to take such extensive measures if the proposed ordinance outlawing the feeding had been in place.

“Typically with any enforcement mechanism, there’s going to be a timeline of issuing a notice of violation, administrative hearing, actual walk on the property enforcement,” Dees said. “It just depends on the type of authority we use. There’s some lag, you just don’t know how long depending on the statute.”

Edds asked that county staff alert the neighbors of the property in question about the county’s recent efforts. If they don’t get word from the county, they’ll likely know once they see the vulture effigy.



Concord man charged with woman’s murder in drive-by shooting

Ask Us

Ask Us: Have city, county elected officials received COVID-19 vaccine?


City gives away nearly 100 trees during ‘We Dig Salisbury’ event


Political Notebook: Bitzer expects most ‘Trump-like’ candidate to be favorite in state’s Senate race


Blotter: Concord man arrested in Rowan for indecent liberties with children


Half of US adults have received at least one COVID-19 shot


Police: FedEx shooter legally bought guns used in shooting


Hester Ford, oldest living American, dies at 115 … or 116?


Size of pipeline spill again underestimated in North Carolina


Kannapolis Police searching for suspect who fled scene of homicide


RSS superintendent talks district’s future, strategic plan survey


Complaints and fines pile up against unpermitted landfill in southwest Rowan County


Catawba baseball: Crowd comes out to say goodbye to Newman Park


History is a great teacher: Farming has helped shape Rowan County


‘A safe place for them’: Timeless Wigs and Marvelous Things celebrates fifth anniversary

China Grove

County will hear request for more tree houses, hobbit-style homes in China Grove


Livingstone College partners with Health Department to administer 500 Pfizer vaccinations


‘Elite and it shows’: Staff at Partners in Learning at Novant celebrate news of national accreditation


Biz Roundup: Food Lion earns Energy Star award for 20th consecutive year


Ester Marsh: What body type are you?


The queen says goodbye to Philip, continues her reign alone


Worldwide COVID-19 death toll tops a staggering 3 million


US, China agree to cooperate on climate crisis with urgency


Sikh community calls for gun reforms after FedEx shooting