Razing of jail could go batty

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Razing of jail could go batty

Postby jonsdigs » Oct 7, 2006 5:39 pm

Razing of jail could go batty
Demolition to force nocturnal animals out of their home

Louis Cooper

Thousands of bats are being evicted from their Milton home to make room for a new judge.

Demolition of the old Santa Rosa County Jail, adjacent to the courthouse in downtown Milton, is set to begin next week. Since the county stopped using the old jail nearly a decade ago, thousands of bats have taken residence.

The land will be used for modular buildings for clerk of the court offices now in the courthouse.

The vacated area of the courthouse will be reconfigured for a new courtroom and chambers for the new circuit court judge, who will take the bench in Milton come January.

"Basically, everything in the courthouse now that is clerk's offices will go in the modular buildings," said Santa Rosa County Clerk of the Court Mary Johnson. "We may be able to leave the juvenile department in the building (next to the juvenile courtroom)."

The departments to be moved include child support, family law, misdemeanor/felony and probate. A file room will be created in the main building to securely keep the records of current cases.

Santa Rosa County Administrator Hunter Walker said the demolition, reconfiguration and modular buildings are not expected to top $2 million.

The demolition will begin at night, when the bats are out of the building, Walker said. Noise and light are expected to keep them away.

"Somebody said there are millions of them, but there couldn't be millions. It's a bunch, however many a bunch is," he said. "It's a sight to see when they all come flying out of there at dusk."

Diane Norris, director of animal husbandry at The Zoo Northwest Florida, works with that facility's bat house.

"I think they will stay away (from the demolition)," she said. "They will look for someplace dark and quiet to roost."

She said people have little to fear from the bats, in case residents find the winged creatures sleeping under their eaves or in their garages.

"They eat insects," she said. "They are not vampire bats, and they do not want to suck your blood."


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Santa Rosa County bats being moved

Postby Ernie Coffman » Oct 7, 2006 11:25 pm

Unfortunately, some bats carry rabies, so...the author hasn't done all of her homework. I'm all for saving the bats, but here in Oregon, this summer, they've been getting some bad publicity, what with several who have infected humans with the rabies disease; thus, the humans are undergoing rabies treatments. In each case, the humans didn't use much sense and just picked up the bats; thus, one was bitten. Another incident, their cat brought it home, so the cat had to be euthanized...or be in quarantine for six months; and, the story goes on and on. So...be careful when you see a bat on the ground, not doing its usual flying, etc., etc. :hairpull:
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