NORTH SMITHFIELD – If you search for the name, “Scott Goodwin,” and “North Smithfield Animal Control,” on Google, a picture of life on the job, which falls under the umbrella of the Public Works Department, gradually begins to emerge.
Goodwin, who’s retired last month after 27 years of service to the town, including many as the town’s animal control officer, comes up in a variety of news stories that, when taken together, make almost any other occupation sound dull.
A few you might expect: there are stories about dog bites – or the less-than- desirable task of roadkill disposal.
But then, there’s also a piece from 2009, when Goodwin became the unexpected caretaker of roughly 30 parakeets seized from a North Smithfield home. Another article, from 2015, describes a day that the ACO was tasked with removing a nine-foot-long boa constrictor from the house of an elderly resident.
From dog bark complaints, to bats in the attic, it seems that for decades, it’s all just been a day’s work for Goodwin.
“He did an outstanding job,” said Public Works Director Ray Pendergast. “He was very unique in that position because there was really nothing that rattled him.”
A 64-year-old town resident who began his career in North Smithfield in the highway department, Goodwin has served as the only full-time paid staff member for the division, working with the volunteer-run nonprofit Friends of The North Smithfield Animal Shelter to keep the town’s strays cared for.
He’s been replaced by Tracy Miller, who was hired as a laborer in Parks and Recreation Department, where she’s worked for the past several years. Pendergast noted that Miller applied for the opening and was one of several applicants.
“She got it based on her qualification and experience,” he said.
Pendergast has also filled the long-vacant position of part-time ACO with veterinary technician Haylee Prescott.
“She’s got more than just an ACO background,” said Pendergast. “With the two, we hope to bring animal control into the modern era.”
Still, Pendergast notes that the pair has a big job in matching Goodwin’s dedication and experience.
“He thought nothing of coming in and taking care of things for people, even on weekends,” said his former boss, noting that feedback on Goodwin was always positive.
“I never really had to worry about that division,” said Pendergast. “I hope the two new people can mirror his experience.”