Ugly got a whole lot uglier this past week in Monroe County politics. Someone walked into the Courthouse and left a paper bag with a dead cat inside it on the floor outside the Commissioners office.

This incident is the second in recent weeks involving dead animals and smells of extremist right-wing politics. Several skinned raccoons were recently found in a pile in the parking lot at the end of the Clear Creek rail trail south of town. Some local property-rights activists trace their political roots to the opposition to county plans several years ago to extend that trail through Southwestern Monroe County.

And it's the latest in a string of nasty incidents aimed directly at elected Monroe County officials, sources tell the Alternative. In addition to harassment that has left County Councilman Scott Wells with a busted-up knee and no driver's license, other elected officials have confirmed a variety of intimidating occurrences, as well.

Over the past few months, officials have reported to the Alternative that they have been tailgated and followed home; had their homes cased by slow-moving cars, some of which have stopped in front of their houses with their lights off; had the air let out of their tires; and discovered large snakes under their cars after county meetings.

The day after the dead cat was left in the Courthouse, someone left a napkin in an official's mailbox with the phrase "I was here" scrawled on it.