Darren Doyle, story:
Judge Executive Wil Cannon's office has announced that animal control officer Eric Roscoe has resigned, effective immediately.
Judge Cannon said that a local animal care group had experienced several communication issues with Roscoe and was no longer comfortable working with him. Cannon said that a county-employed animal control officer must be able to work hand-in-hand with local animal groups and the problems would negatively affect the mission of bringing an animal shelter to Edmonson County.
Cannon also said that there were individuals that discovered Roscoe's picture on a couple of websites that display mugshots and charges. According to Cannon, the county conducted a background search on Mr. Roscoe when he was hired in June of 2016 and no charges were discovered, nor anything else that would negatively affect the county's decision in hiring him. He said the background check was the type of check done on any non-sworn or non-certified county employee. While Roscoe's title contained "officer," he did not have arresting powers; he could only issue citations for animal ordinance violations.
"Today, we found out some information that didn't show up on the initial check conducted by Sheriff Shane Doyle," Cannon said. "While the Sheriff is Mr. Roscoe's supervisor, my office is the one that gave authority to name him as the animal control officer. The individuals that brought this to our attention claimed that this was a felony assault charge, but we can't confirm that. What we know is that there is no evidence of a conviction to that charge. This apparently happened out of state several years ago and Mr. Roscoe told us that it was actually a misdemeanor charge, to which he pleaded guilty. It did not show up on his background check. We met with Mr. Roscoe today and asked him about these problems and he said he didn't want to cause any negative issues for the county and he voluntarily resigned."
Sheriff Doyle said that he understands why Roscoe chose to resign but the county has lost some ground during this incident.
"It's an unfortunate situation for everyone involved," said Doyle. "During his time of service we received many compliments on the job he was doing and we know for a fact he accomplished some good things. However, if local animal organizations are having issues with him, the situation has to be resolved immediately. Nothing was found in his background check and we do these checks all the time. Even so, in this case, Mr. Roscoe felt it was best to resign."
We spoke with Mr. Roscoe about the situation and he told us almost exactly the same thing as Judge Cannon had relayed.
"I don't want to bring anything negative to our county," he said. "I respect the Judge's outlook on the situation and while this charge happened about eight years ago and was handled, I don't want to be the cause of any problems."
Mr. Roscoe said he thought it was unfortunate that the local animal group felt like there were problems between them, but he said he did the best he could do.
"As I said when the county hired me, our main problem here is with animal owner education, not necessarily the animal themselves. I've tried to take care of our animal situation and educate our animal owners in the process."
Cannon said in some states, certain charges can be expunged from one's record after a certain time period and if there is no felony conviction, it will not show on a background check. "We cannot find any further information on this charge except what Mr. Roscoe has told us. The Sheriff's office did everything they were supposed to do in this matter when Mr. Roscoe was brought on last year."
Judge Cannon said the search for a new animal control officer would begin immediately, but not without some stricter guidelines.
"We're going to work on the limitations of the office. Mr. Roscoe was answering every kind of animal call you can think of and that's not what we need. This needs to be a Dog Control Officer only, and we're going to make sure we do a better job of making those duties known."
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