2009-12-05 / Editorials & Letters

One more Letter: Help needed to improve Licking County Animal Shelter

Editor:

I want to thank The Beacon for doing the “Looking For A Home” notices of dogs in danger of being gassed to death at the Licking County Animal Shelter (aka dog pound). I also want to thank the public for adopting these animals. So far, each dog featured in The Beacon has been saved. I pray we can keep that momentum going!

I have recently talked to several people who asked for some clarification about the dog pound and the employee positions. So, here goes…

The dog pound is a public agency that is supported with public funds. The head dog catcher is Jon Luzio and his job title is Director. Luzio is appointed by the county commissioners and he answers directly to the commissioners. He is a salaried employee and makes $51,466.24 per year!

Second in command at the pound is John Silva. He is the office manager. He is also a salaried employee and was hired in at $46,000 per year! Silva also answers directly to the commissioners. There are two other permanent employees: A pound keeper ($12.50 per hour) and an administrative assistant ($15.48 per hour). And lastly, there is one temporary employee whose exact title escapes me, but works as a humane agent/assistant dog catcher. This temporary position pays $13.50 per hour.

The pound has cut the number of hours they are open for adoptions and I believe this is the work of Jon Luzio and John Silva since they are the managers at the pound and collectively receive almost ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS per year of our tax dollars! The pound used to be open Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Saturday from noon until 4 p.m. Now they are only open for adoptions on Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Adoption hours were cut even though the public officials allegedly take turns coming in for four hours a day to feed and clean. They still get paid, but they don’t have to deal with the public even though two of them are salaried employees.

Recently, the pound closed its doors to the public for FIVE DAYS IN A ROW…Thursday through Monday (Nov. 26 – Nov. 30). I believe this weekend would have been ONE OF THE BUSIEST ADOPTION WEEKENDS OF THE YEAR for these animals AND it was about the only chance, for some of them, of being adopted before they are gassed to death.

After being closed for these five days in a row, head dogcatcher Jon Luzio sent out an email to several rescue groups and gave them a ONE day notice to get dogs out before they are gassed to death on Wednesday. Needless to say, rescue workers were outraged. Many of us have questioned the county commissioners on how they can justify closing the doors to the public and, just like many other times, the commissioners don’t answer.

The dog pound continually steps backwards when it comes to public friendliness and animal adoption awareness. The county commissioners allow this to happen… at least when it is not an election year! Like most politicians, the commissioners close their eyes to most problems until it is time to ask for your vote.

Email the Commissioners (TBubb@lcounty.com, BFeightner@ lcounty.com and DSmith@ lcounty.com) or call them at 740-670-5110 or 740-670-5000 and tell them we want adoption friendliness and we want to BAN THE GAS CHAMBER in Licking County. Please keep in mind that closing the door to the public at the dog pound quickly opens the door to the gas chamber for the animals!
Bonnie Mansfield
Buckeye Lake

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