2014-02-01 / Editorials & Letters

Humane Society should operate dog pound

Editor:

I have suggested this in the past and will suggest it again: The Licking County Commissioners should have the Licking County HUMANE SOCIETY take over the operations of our county dog pound. This would make so much sense, financially as well as humane!

Many people in the public think the dog pound (which is called the Licking County Animal Shelter) is a humane society. Therefore, they criticize the “humane society” when in reality it is the pound they are complaining about. I believe the confusion is because of the word ‘shelter’ in the pound’s name. However, it is not the ONLY reason these two places are confused.

Head Dog Warden John Silva (long time friend to former dog warden Jon Luzio), states on the dog pound’s county website, “Our adoption policies were established to ensure the placement of our animals into permanent, responsible homes, and they comply with the guidelines and regulations set by Licking County Animal Control and the Licking County Humane Society. If you have any questions about these policies, feel free to consult one of our staff members.”

This couldn’t be farther from the truth! The Licking County Humane Society has an adoption application and screening procedure that they follow. As many of us know, it is vital that you make sure the family is a good fit for the dog they are adopting. If you don’t make sure they are a match, you are setting the family and the dog up for failure.

The pound does no screening whatsoever on the people adopting animals. Anyone, including backyard puppymills, could adopt a dog from our pound. I would think the Commissioners would frown on such a lack of responsibility to our citizens and our four legged friends. Silva’s lack of responsibility makes him comparable to a bad pet shop rather than the humane society.

Since the notation on the website also says to contact “one of our staff members” if you have any questions about the policies, I asked Silva for a copy of their policies. He directed me to talk to Licking County Human Resources (LCHR). Upon speaking with someone from their office, I found that the pound has NO policies in place. One of Silva’s job duties is that he “Develops, administers, and monitors internal policies and procedures.” He’s been here about five years. I would think that duty should have been one of the first things he should have done.

Repeated requests to Silva to have records (State Sheets) emailed to me on a weekly basis (as they were not so long ago) have been ignored by him. I made another request to Silva and added the Commissioner’s to the email hoping they would see what their GOB (Good Ole Boy) was doing. Silva responded with this condescending statement: “County records requests are responded to upon the respective inquiry.” I reminded him that his was the only county agency that I was having trouble getting records from. He then tried to applaud himself that he responded even though he was out of the office. His response came at 3 pm. According to his job description, he is supposed to work from 8 am to 4 pm.

I also made another request to Silva for records pertaining to a trip that he took last November to pick up the county dog truck in Pennsylvania. I wondered why it would cost $140 for someone to take the truck there and $283 for him to go get it. I was curious if someone else went with him to pick the truck up. Again, he referred me to another county agency. I requested and received the records very quickly from the County Auditor’s office.

According to these public records, John Silva was permitted to spend up to $283 to pick up the dog pound truck in Elizabethville, PA. On Nov. 19, Silva flew on Southwest Airlines from Columbus, to Baltimore, MD (Washington DC area). This cost Licking County taxpayers $78.90 for the flight and Silva’s timecard reflected that he worked 4 hours that day. His flight left at 6:30 am and arrived at 7:20 am (1hr. 20 mins.). He apparently had some sightseeing to do because he stayed in that area for a couple of days but didn’t charge Licking County for the time. I would presume that he was on a mini-vacation of some sort. And, as I suspected, he didn’t appear to be alone (although taxpayers didn’t foot the bill for anyone but Silva). It looks as though he had someone other than a county employee in a county vehicle.....against county policy.

On Nov. 21, although he wasn’t on county time, Silva bought a bus ticket (charged $13 of the ticket to the county) and left the DC area and headed to PA. The rest of the expenses are for November 22 for breakfast, lunch, fuel, toll fees and he wrote that he worked 11 hours. (The trip from PA to Heath, OH is about 6 hours.)

More later...

Bonnie Mansfield
Buckeye Lake

Return to top