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July 22, 2013

New humane officer was McCarthy’s pick

NEW CASTLE — One might believe Jerry McCarthy posthumously found his replacement as Lawrence County’s humane officer.

At least, that’s how District Attorney Joshua Lamancusa felt when he hired an Ellwood City woman who had been McCarthy’s recommendation.

Lamancusa recalls McCarthy handing him the name several months before he died, urging him to take a look at her in case funds should become available to hire an assistant humane officer.

Lamancusa told him that was wishful thinking, and he put Stacey L. Wiley’s name in his desk drawer and forgot about it.

McCarthy, who also was a county detective and a part-time Shenango police officer, was killed in an accident while on duty for Shenango May 2 during an attempted traffic stop.

When Lamancusa decided to fill McCarthy’s position, there were 10 applicants, none of whom had the qualifications he was seeking.

According to Lamancusa, the humane officer’s role is to protect animals from neglect and abuse.

He wanted someone with a background in handling animals, but who also had police credentials to fulfill the role of detective.

Wiley came with both, but she wasn’t one of the 10 applicants.

It was during the interviewing that Lamancusa opened his desk drawer one day and noticed the note in McCarthy’s handwriting with Wiley’s resume attached.

“I got the chills,” he said.

Wiley and McCarthy had become friends while she was riding along with the Shenango police. She had studied to become a veterinary assistant, then switched and attained municipal police training and certification.

She remembers McCarthy telling her repeatedly, “Don’t give up. Don’t give up,” about working for Lamancusa.

During the 1990s and early 2000s, Wiley worked as a cosmetologist and for seven years operated her own salon.

The Riverside High School graduate had attended the Beaver County Area Vocational Technical School in cosmetology, and later graduated from an online veterinary assistant program with Thompson Education Direct.

In 2011, the mother of two graduated from the police academy at the Community College of Beaver County.

She holds four certificates from the Federal Emergency Management Agency in incident command — introduction, schools, active shooter and law enforcement.

Wiley turned toward law enforcement, influenced by family members who were officers, she said, “but animals were probably my bigger motivation than just being a police officer alone.”

She wants to be able to arrest people who maliciously harm animals, but she also desires to educate them, pointing out, “people sometimes make bad decisions.”

Since her hiring June 10, Wiley has been gathering advice from the city animal control officer and state police dog warden. Her first major case was to remove 22 dogs from a Croton Avenue house.

Lamancusa said that anyone who has animal complaints should contact his animal abuse hotline at (855) 870-8081 to report them.

(Note: Stacey L. Wiley declined to have her photo taken for this story. Have a question or story idea? Email Debbie Wachter at dwachter@ncnewsonline.com)

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