ST. GEORGE – Got bats? The Washington County 5th District Courthouse does. Thousands of them, in fact. Just one day prior to Halloween, the pesky creatures have begun making themselves at home in the courthouse, located at 206 Tabernacle Street, in St. George.
“They appear to be all over the building,” a 5th District Court employee told St. George News. “We can hear them scratching inside the ceiling in some areas.”
The bat infestation is no Allhallows Eve joke, nor did courthouse officials invite the bats in to make for extra scary court proceedings. The bats, it seems, let themselves in.
Work is currently being done on the outside of the building and sources said they believe the bats entered the building after workers possibly left a vent open.
“Apparently, the court did become aware this morning of this problem with the bats,” Utah Courts spokesperson Nancy Volmer said. “Our facility workers are looking at how to address the issue at this time.”
While most of the bats are currently in the vents, the bats have reportedly been seen in Courtroom 3A, the courthouse stairwells, and the hallway in the probation unit.
Though Volmer reported Thursday afternoon that there has been no impact on court operations, a sign hanging on the reportedly most-infested courtroom door stated the scheduled court proceedings in Courtroom 3A would, instead, be heard in Courtroom 3B. Volmer confirmed the court proceedings were moved due to the bats.
“They’ve got thousands of bats in the courthouse,” a source told St. George News, “and they’re trying to catch them by hand.”
The $29 million courthouse opened its doors in December 2009. The 91,734 sq. ft. building offers plenty of space for the bats to roam and hide.
At last report, sources said 15 of the bats have been captured.
“We did setup a method that will cause the bats to exit the building,” Volmer said, “and then, at that point, they will be able to catch them.”
Volmer said the Division of Natural Resources is also assisting in the situation.
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