A new Chatham county gun range is under fire after being built next to the largest no-kill cat refuge in the state.

The Goathouse Refuge near Pittsboro has been feuding with its noisy neighbors since the sound of repeated gunshots has been causing distress to the 200 cats being housed there, as well as the employees and residents.

Refuge Founder Siglinda Scarpa says life has been “like living in a war zone” for the refuge and its animals since Range 2A, a private, members-only outdoor gun range, welcomed its first members in late May.

Scarpa says some of her main concerns surround the health of the animals, telling WCHL that the cats have had serious negative reactions to the constant sound of shots and construction, and have been more stressed than ever.

“As soon as the gunshots start, they run down to the ground and they hide anywhere they can,” Scarpa says. “We have cats that start grooming themselves and cats with diarrhea, very heavy diarrhea, and that is a well-known symptom of cats that are very stressed out.”

Scarpa and the refuge employees describe sounds that shake their home like “bombs” as bullets hit “explosive targets.”

Here is audio from a video posted on The Goathouse Refuge Facebook page of gunshots being heard from a back porch on the refuge’s land.

“I can tell you it’s like being in Iraq,” Scarpa said of the video.

The refuge had to cancel its annual Brunch event; their largest fundraiser that helps pay the $20,000 a month needed to keep the refuge open because Scarpa says the sound of the gunshots were “too close and too loud” and would “ruin the event.”

“Every month we scrounge money to put towards the care of the animals and our bills,” Scarpa says. “We were going to have our (fundraising) event that normally covers the costs over here for two months, and we could not do it. So now we are in the red.”

The refuge is firing back at Range 2A with an online petition that reached 5,000 signatures on Tuesday to close the range’s doors. Scarpa and her supporters have also contacted the Chatham County Board of Commissioners to express their concerns of their business, as well as environmental concerns of the range.

“Our land is worth nothing at this point. Nobody’s going to buy a piece of land that is next to a war zone.”

According to the Range 2A website, the range plans to expand from 17 acres to a total of 71 acres when completed with its “three phase project.”

The company has also fought against Goathouse Refuge’s allegations of gunshots causing animal trauma on with a post on its Facebook account, showing a video of the owner’s dog seemingly undisturbed by almost 20 seconds of gunfire.

The video was captioned with the statement:
“This is my personal dog at 8 months old less than150 feet from people practicing. She has never been exposed before to guns and is not wearing hearing protection. The goat house is 600 feet from our closest shooting position through dense woods. We have offered to work with the goat house to find a solution but they are unwilling to communicate outside of profanity and threats via social media and pretending to be potential customers (nearly hitting me with their car).”

Range 2A could not be reached by WCHL for comment.

Scarpa says she vows to defend the cat sanctuary and protect the animals it nurtures back to health by petitioning Range 2A either be moved indoors or be removed from the land.

“We have nothing against guns, guns can be used for very good reasons and at a good time; but not this way. Not disturbing a whole community of people that are living here with children and older people. That is not acceptable.”

To learn more about how you can help The Goathouse Refuge, visit their website www.goathouserefuge.org

To learn more about Range 2A and to sign up for a membership, visit www.range2a.com