UNION COUNTY, Ohio --
The Delaware man accused of slamming, kicking and poking cows with a pitch fork is studying to become a law-enforcement officer.
Billy Joe Gregg Jr., 25, faces 12 charges of animal cruelty after an animal advocacy group went undercover to videotape horrible images of abuse.
Appearing in court for a bond hearing Thursday, Gregg argued for a lower bond on the grounds that he is studying to become a police officer. Gregg is a student at Columbus State Community College.
"I'm actually in a law-enforcement program because I have been a police officer, so I have exams," Gregg said. "I know those charges are pretty serious, but if I don't show up for those exams I'll be in more financial ruins 'cause I don't have a job now."
Conklin Dairy Farms of Union County fired Gregg Wednesday. He faces nearly three years in prison if convicted of all 12 counts of animal cruelty. The charges are second-degree misdemeanors.
Some central Ohioans expressed shock when they heard Gregg wants to continue his law enforcement pursuits.
"I would be terribly upset if he would become an officer, especially if he was set out on any case with the animals." said Brenda Baker of Columbus
Added Judah Hout of Reynoldsburg, "I'd be a little freaked out if that guy was a cop. If he's got that kind of anger toward an animal, I don't know what kind of anger he'd have toward somebody else."
If convicted of multiple counts, Gregg could not land a job in the Columbus Division of Police because of city policy prohibiting applicants with a felony conviction, a misdemeanor conviction in the last five years or two misdemeanors as an adult.
Lorain, Ohio's police department rules out applicants with felony convictions but does not address misdemeanors.
But police departments can still use discretion to reject an applicant. Local Fraternal Order of Police President Jim Gilbert said that if Gregg were convicted of multiple counts of animal cruelty, "I can't see any police agency hiring him."
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