Especially right before an election, it’s hard to find warm, cuddly, feel-good stories out of Guilford County government.

However, one unquestionably occurred on Thursday, Nov. 3, when Guilford County Animal Services Director Jorge Ortega brought a kitten to a work session of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners as a visual aid (one might say “prop”) – to use during a report to the board on the county’s animal shelter operation and the needs of Animal Services.

While deep in Ortega’s mind he might have thought the adorable shelter kitty – which animal services workers had named “Jack” – would help open the county commissioners’ hearts and purse strings for shelter funding,

Ortega certainly had no idea what else would happen.

However, the camera-shy kitty stole the heart of Guilford County Facilities Director Eric Hilton (pictured above), who adopted Jack right on the spot.  Hilton, an animal lover whose family already has three pets, told the Rhino Times after the work session that he’d been hoping to adopt a new cat.

Hilton added that the name Jack may be changed in the near future.

The cat will no doubt be fine with that name change now that he’ll have a lot of room to roam as opposed to being locked up in a shelter with hundreds of other animals.  Hilton lives in a rural area with a lot of nature around.

“It’s my wife’s cat,” Hilton clarified after the meeting as he posed holding the kitten.

During the first part of Ortega’s presentation to the Board of Commissioners, Ortega held the kitten as he spoke about crowded conditions at the shelter due to county residents abandoning pets that were adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, if every county administrator would just adopt a dog or cat from the Guilford County animal shelter, that would make a huge dent in the current overpopulation problem at the facility that opened last year and now constantly remains crowded.