Newbury COA Announces Retirement | North of Boston

NEWBURY — Carol Larocque, the city’s beleaguered animal control officer, announced earlier this week that she will step down in mid-October, according to City Manager Tracy Blais.

Her decision, conveyed to the select committee by Blais on Tuesday, comes less than two weeks after it was revealed that she and Rowley’s animal control officer, Reed Wilson, were under investigation by the Essex County District Attorney’s Office.

Blais, who added that Larocque’s last day will be Oct. 16, said all animal control issues should be directed to the police department until further notice.

A spokesperson for the district attorney’s office confirmed on September 19 that the couple were being investigated for the murder of a stray husky at a now-closed Rowley kennel.

Larocque is also Rowley’s assistant animal control officer.

Rowley City Administrator Deborah Eagan said Thursday that Wilson and Larocque are still employed by the city.

The investigation into Wilson and Larocque began following statements made by Hydrant Regency owner April Bernhardt to police after he charged her with 40 counts of animal cruelty.

Court records show Rowley Police Sgt. Matthew Ziev learned Sept. 7 that a stray dog ​​may have been euthanized with a gun at the now-closed Route 1 kennel. He asked Bernhardt if she knew anything about the claim and she said she did.

Around this time, and unbeknownst to Bernhardt, the two officers arrived at the kennel armed with what appeared to be rifles. Their arrival was filmed and Ziev was able to watch it.

“A few minutes later, April Bernhardt heard a gunshot, a dog barking and then a second shot. A Bernhardt indicated that it made her feel horrible and it was inhumane,” Ziev wrote in his report.

When asked why she didn’t call the police after the shooting, Bernhardt said it was because “it’s the animal police.”

Board chair Alicia Greco declined to comment on the matter on Thursday, saying it had nothing to do with Newbury.

Larocque is from Nashua, New Hampshire, and has been an animal control officer for over 40 years. She has worked in Wenham, Hamilton, Rowley and Newburyport, where she served for 14 years until the mid 2000s. She also helps cover Topsfield’s animal control needs.

Dave Rogers is the editor of the Daily News in Newburyport. Email him at: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.

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