Does Chairman Edds’s Plan of Action Promote Euthanizing Undesirable Cats? // Does the County Rebranding Slogan Violate Perry Ellis’s Trademark?

Posted on February 2, 2017

Todd Paris, Staff Writer and Salisbury Attorney

♦ Last Saturday I read in the local print media that “County Commissioner Greg Edds congratulated the shelter on its forward progress in recent years. In just a few years, the shelter has gone from having a gas chamber to making strides towards increasing adoptions and decreasing euthanizations.”

This is actually true. Between 2014 and 2015 cat euthanasia numbers were reduced from 458 to 304 and with dogs, from 225 to 90. The reductions are mainly a result in the increase in adoptions to new owners.

Edds shared a statement on his Facebook page on 09/03/2016 regarding a “Plan of Action” endorsed by Edds, that calls for a reduction, not elimination of euthanizing cats. “Our cat Kittah” did not react well to that. Apparently, Edds sees value in reducing the population of undesirable cats.

The Rowan County Shelter needs some good news after last years failed inspection by the agriculture department just after the construction of million dollar cat wing paid for by private donations. The shelter’s response to the Department of Agriculture here:

NC General Statute § 19A-65. requires an annual report from every Animal Shelter in to receive State or Local Funding to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services setting forth the numbers, by species, of animals received into the shelter, the number adopted out, the number returned to owner, and the number destroyed. A synopsis of those numbers for 2014 and 2015 (the last two published) are below.

While congratulations are merited all around, in reducing dog and cat euthanasia by 289 over these two years I think the largest non self-serving “pat on the back” should go to those local animal rescue organizations who spurred the animal adoption efforts that increased adoptions by 627 over these two years. The new report is scheduled to be sent in soon, and we will update when it is published.

It should be noted that County Commissioner Craig Pierce has long been an advocate for the animal shelter and has spear-headed efforts for additional funding. In watching the Rowan Free Press’s County Commission videos Pierce wishes the shelter to become a “no-kill” shelter for both cats and dogs. A shelter is evidently considered “no kill” when it euthanizes less that 10% of its intake. It is reported that Rowan County has accomplished this for dogs, but not for our feline friends.

Around 1972 dogs were allegedly taken in during the most recent reporting period, though these numbers are not yet posted with NCDA site. This should not come a surprise since: in the past few years the county school system has lost several thousands of students and projects additional student loss sufficient to begin closing schools. It’s also been revealed that there are approximately 2,900 empty houses in Salisbury, Rowan’s largest city and that virtually no population or economic growth exists in Rowan County. With less population, the exodus of young families, and Salisbury’s high poverty, it may be that folks here are just deciding they can’t afford to have pets.

For those interested, Mr. Kittah was a rescue kitty and was taken in about 11 years ago by my wife after he was injured with a broken leg. It turned out he also has FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) which means he is very susceptible to infections and could infect other cats, so we can have only one. He has co-habited with a number of dogs from time to time, all of which were mainly ignored by him and all of them live now out in the country with relatives where they can run and play. Mr. Kittah is a “good kitty” most of the time.


♦ Is the Five hundred thousand dollar Rowan Re-branding slogan “Be an Original” already trademarked by multi-billion dollar multinational company?

A letter to the editor was received from Patrick Pierson, lately of Rowan County before Christmas. He writes:

“I have worked in marketing for more than 27 years of my life. I have lived in Rowan County for more than 20 of those years. At one time, some may have actually included me as a member of the Salisbury muckety-mucks, although I would argue that I’ve always been more muck than muckety.

I took a job at Salisbury-based advertising agency more than 20 years ago. At the same time, I had an offer to join an agency in Charlotte. I chose the Salisbury opportunity because I thought it would be a great place to raise my children and I fully expected the economic boom in Mecklenburg County would eventually reach Rowan. Both turned out to be false hopes.

I provide my credentials to back my opinion of the rebranding effort, not to toot my own horn. I do not think I’m smarter than Mr. Chandler of ChandlerThinks or any of the staff at the Tourism Development Authority (TDA) or Economic Development Commission (EDC). What I am, is an outside observer, with a very transparent agenda: a better community that will provide jobs for my children and grandchildren who may choose to stay here. For the record: I do not plan to stay here.”

Mr. Pierson goes on to question the concept, cost, and the borrowing behind this effort that evidently brought us the slogan, “Be and Original” which was highly Championed by Commission Chair Greg Edds and now appears all over Rowan County sites and RowanWorks sites.

His most interesting information involved a possible trademark issue involving this slogan:

“Most of my career was spent in advertising and public relations agencies. I have spent many hours in conference rooms with a whiteboard and a black marker leading brainstorming sessions. Typically, you leave this meeting with a concept everyone loves. Your very next step is to log into the US Patent and Trademark Office website to determine if your tagline is trademarked.”

“Be an original” is a registered trademark of Perry Ellis Inc. I am not a lawyer, but I suspect a cease and desist letter will be received within days of the first ads running. $638,000.00 wasted.”

Screenshots of his and our research are included. A number of questions and concerns arise. Does the Perry Ellis Corporation think they own this “Be and Original” trademark and if so, did ChandlerThinks think to license it from them? Is there some reason ChandlerThinks thinks this is not necessary? If necessary, do you think this trademark claim just bars us from printing “Be an Original” on just shirts, hats, and clothing or perhaps even more? Has a cease and desist letter already arrived and have we or are we thinking about reaching an accommodation with this multi-billion dollar firm? If we can’t use this slogan, think we get our money back?

RFP back in November thought this “rebranding” was a questionable effort.

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