Between high-speed chases and code enforcement, McCrary’s dog days are filled with shaggy shenanigans

Melissa Peterson photo
Glenrock Animal Control and Code Enforcement Officer Stuart McCrary carefully circles around a barking loose dog who broke out of his yard March 26. 

By: 
Melissa Peterson melissa@glenrockind.com

Zig-zagging his truck through Rolling Hills, Stuart McCrary points to each house, calling out dogs by name. To his left, two chocolate labs bark and, a few houses up, the escape-artist team of a husky and Jack Russell terrier, a four-legged duo he has chased down more than once.
After three years as an animal control officer, McCrary has learned a lot. With no formal training besides his work as a veterinarian and one week of patrolling with a Glenrock Police Department officer, he had a swift learning curve. In spite of this McCrary has found his own way of dealing with animals.
Recently, McCrary has become in charge of code enforcement, making sure owners cited for animal violations improve conditions for their pets. Some days he spends checking up on animals at the shelter or visiting with some of the well-known fence-jumpers. Other days, a high-speed chase last hours where he runs a marathon around Glenrock, checking every nook for a pup.
Even though McCrary has 30 years of veterinary practice experience, nothing could have prepared him for this job.
Monday mornings he hops in the driver’s seat of his truck and heads to the shelter to visit with the unclaimed animals. If there are any dogs, cats and even an occasional raccoon, he will check in on them to make sure they are well fed, have plenty of water and will see if anyone has claimed the found animals.
After making sure the animals are taken care of, McCrary starts his patrol. As he tours Glenrock scouting for scruffy runaways, he reminisces about one of his first calls.
McCrary had been on the job only a brief time when he saw a dog running at large. Cautiously approaching the animal, he suddenly bolted into a sprint and an eight-hour chase ensued. Careful to never let himself be cornered, the dog led him throughout Glenrock for the rest of the day. McCrary spent the next several hours pursuing the dog on foot and other times taking to the wheel. In the end, the strategic adversary got away. Just after McCrary thought the dog was gone he saw him curled up in a water hose on someone’s porch. The dog kept returning to the porch and, eventually, the owner decided to adopt the dog himself, calling him Hozer. Today, McCrary can visit Hozer and sees how he has gained weight, and is happier.
When McCrary brings animals back to the shelter, they have five days before they are turned over to the city and are placed for adoption. McCrary hopes the owners will find their animals, but equally hopes they will find a loving home.

HARD TO SAY NO
McCrary wishes all stories ended like the last one. The longest days for him is when he sees neglected and unloved animals. He often wishes he could take them all home. 
“I’m an animal lover in general, I’ve run into some cats and neat dogs that I wished I could keep,” McCrary said.
Even though he didn’t personally keep all the animals he found, it is the basis for the story of the cat he has today. After rescuing a small, orange, feral kitten on patrol he placed the tiny animal on the seat next to him. After a few seconds, the kitten had crawled up on McCrary, resting on his neck and rubbing up against him with affection. It was then he decided this one would go home with him.
Somedays though, it’s not always cuddly kittens that he encounters.
With his previous experience with animals, he has the ability to read them better than most people. When first approaching an animal, he will remove his sunglasses, giving them the ability to communicate eye to eye. And suddenly, the tall man with a red beard becomes a friend to these frightened animals, gently talking to them with a natural and peaceful demeanor.
A paramount part of McCrary’s job is knowing when to control the situation. Out of nowhere a dog may lunge and suddenly, the situation has changed.
“It’s reading those animals that is key, you don’t wanna push them,” he added.
During the last three years though, he has only had one injury. When placing a dog in the kennel of his truck the dog was anxious and bit McCrary, taking a chunk out of his thumb.
No matter what the day may hold, McCrary loves his job. Whether he gets to help dogs and cats or with other animals such as deer, minks or horses. Because of his code enforcement status he can cite someone or a residence for breaking certain codes. It doesn’t just stop at animals though, it can be anything from abandoned cars in the yard to unkept property.
“It’s all based on the health and welfare of the community,” McCrary said.
Punching the truck into reverse, he kept an eye on the dog he noticed running loose, McCrary gets out of the truck and calmly approaches the animal. Sometimes it’s one he has done this dance with before, or maybe one that is entirely new to Glenrock. Either way, the lessons he has learned from the job he loves kick in, and he is once again calling to the animal with an occasional laugh until it makes its way back home or McCrary can safely return them to the arms of its human companion.
“I’ve enjoyed the heck out of this job,” he said. “It’s dealing will animals, just dealing with them differently.”

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Glenrock Independent

Physical Address:506 W. Birch, Glenrock, WY 82637 Mailing Address: PO Box 109, Douglas, WY 82633 Phone: (307) 436-2211

The Glenrock Independent is located in the Bronco Building

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