2014-02-15 / Editorials & Letters

Dog pound locks up public records

Editor:

I do not yet have local police records to share but I would like to share more information on our local dog pound, the Licking County DOG Shelter. (It is still officially named the “Animal” shelter but they only take stray dogs.)

First let me say that I get records emailed to me from many Licking county officials but dog warden John Silva is the only county department head that puts up such a fuss at handing over PUBLIC records! I firmly believe when PUBLIC officials don’t want the PUBLIC to see PUBLIC records…you can bet they have something to hide!

A couple of days ago I requested euthanasia records from the pound. And I requested they be emailed to me. I received an email from the pound employee in charge of the records, stating that I would have to come and pick up the TWO pages at a total cost of ten cents. I called the employee and asked why he can’t email the two pages just like he did in the past. His response was that the policy states I have to drive in there and pick up the pages. Knowing this employee had to answer to Silva, I asked to speak to Silva.

Silva stated that I had to come in and pick up the two pages. I asked him how the records could be emailed to me in the past (as recent as December) and now I have to drive down there and get them? He stated that the employee who emailed them to me “acted without knowledge of how the process works” and that he would make sure that employee understands the protocol.

I told Silva that I think he (Silva) is the one who doesn’t understand. Why would you NOT email them? He commented that it is a “hardcopy to be picked up.” I believe SILVA is acting without “knowledge” of the Ohio Revised Code or maybe just a blatant disregard for the law! In either case, I hope the County Commissioners (Tim Bubb, Doug Smith and Duane Flowers) choose to stop this nonsense.

Here’s some knowledge I would like to share with Silva: Ohio law (ORC 149.43 (B)(6) states “…The public office or the person responsible for the public record shall permit that person to choose to have the public record duplicated upon paper, upon the same medium upon which the public office or person responsible for the public record keeps it, or upon ANY OTHER MEDIUM UPON WHICH THE PUBLIC OFFICE OR PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR THE PUBLIC RECORD DETERMINES THAT IT REASONABLY CAN BE DUPLICATED AS AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE NORMAL OPERATIONS OF THE PUBLIC OFFICE OR PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR THE PUBLIC RECORD. When the person seeking the copy makes a choice under this division, the public office or person responsible for the public record shall provide a copy of it IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CHOICE MADE BY THE PERSON SEEKING THE COPY.”

I also recently requested travel logs (an accounting of the mileage put on a county vehicle). Silva said travel logs are “not a record we collect.” I told him that they had kept them in the past and his response was that he couldn’t speak for Luzio. I said I would take that as something else he (Silva) has done away with. His response: “That’s not a practice that we have here.”

Another “practice” that Silva apparently doesn’t have at the pound is accountability! Silva’s timesheets show columns where numbers don’t add up; days where he claims to have worked 12 or 14 hours; and sick or vacation days entered in the wrong places.

And if that isn’t enough, ANOTHER new person hired at the pound by Silva will start on February 19th! Why the need for so many employees? No more humane calls, no more cats, no more owner surrendered dogs. Stray dogs only and only when they’re open. Soon the number of employees will exceed the number of dogs!

Bonnie Mansfield
Buckeye Lake

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