Police slip puts dog owner on most wanted list
Ryan Conroy had paid fines for letting dog off leash when mugshot appeared on sheriff’s list
By Christine Ina Casillas
Daily Staff Writer
NOTE: PLEASE TRY TO USE BOTH PULL QUOTES
“What gets me is that my picture was right in between ‘real’ criminals. And there I am – on the list – for a dog ticket.”
– Ryan Conroy
“He was not wanted at the time. It was a human error.”
– Tanny McGinnis, Eagle County sheriff’s deputy
A human-caused computer error at the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office put one man on the county’s most wanted list – for an expired dog ticket.
Former Red Cliff resident Ryan Conroy was listed this week as one of the county’s three most wanted for two alleged counts of failure to appear in court and public order crimes. Conroy, who appeared on the list in Wednesday’s Vail Daily based on information received from the Sheriff’s Office, had paid the fines, but because of an apparent computer error, one of the two warrants remained active, said Tanny McGinnis, an Eagle County sheriff’s deputy with the crime prevention unit.
“The paper work didn’t get changed out of the sheriff’s office,” McGinnis said. “(Conroy) had two active warrants that were expired but one of them didn’t get moved out of the computer system.
“He was not wanted at the time,” McGinnis added. “It was a human error.”
Conroy works in construction, traveling regularly to Bachelor Gulch from Fort Collins two or three times a week, he said.
“It was a failure on their part to remove the warrant from my name,” Conroy said Thursday.
At the time of the warrants, Conroy was living in Red Cliff. He moved to Red Cliff, he said, because he knew the jokes in the area about dogs and he wanted to live in a town that was purely dog-friendly.
“I wanted to live in an area where I could let my dogs run loose,” Conroy said.
But at the time, local animal control officers were traveling over Battle Mountain Pass to Red Cliff every Friday to catch dogs and ticket owners for letting them run free without leashes, he said. Conroy said he received a ticket for having a dog-at-large two weeks in a row.
“My dog was even one of the nicer ones who went straight up to the dog catcher,” Conroy said. “The dog isn’t even alive any more.”
But Conroy never paid the tickets, saying Thursday it was “only a dog ticket.”
“I had two dog-at-large tickets, which I regretfully never paid,” he said. “I laughed it off.”
But the two warrants for his arrest filtered through the sheriff’s computer system. About nine months ago, Conroy was pulled over in Eagle-Vail for speeding. When the trooper spotted his active arrest warrants in the system, Conroy was handcuffed and booked into the Eagle County jail.
“This was the first arrest in my life and I didn’t think a dog ticket was that big of a deal,” Conroy said.
It was then, when he was arrested, that he found he had two active warrants, one for each dog ticket. He paid the fines and one ticket was erased, the other one wasn’t, he said.
“It was a clerical error for a nine-month-old warrant that was resolved,” Conroy said.
But Conroy didn’t realize he was on the county’s top most wanted list until he opened the newspaper Thursday morning and saw his mugshot, followed by a call from one of his general contractors in Bachelor Gulch who asked him what was going on his life, he said.
“Image is so much easier to maintain, but it’s not easy to recover,” he said. “I need my image for my job.
“What gets me is that my picture was right in between ‘real’ criminals,” he added. “And there I am – on the list – for a dog ticket.”
Christine Ina Casillas can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607, or at email@example.com.