2014-07-12 / Editorials & Letters

County needs a humane dog warden


In a previous issue of The Beacon, I shared information from public records where two dogs died by what I believe is neglect of employees at the Liking County Animal Shelter (aka dog pound). On June 26th, I turned in a complaint to the Licking County Commissioners on Dog Warden John Silva and two hourly employees for their roles in this incident.

My complaint was that John Silva lied to me about the incident and also failed to report the dogs on record at the pound (and in the weekly report to the commissioners); and the two hourly employees should have used common sense to get IMMEDIATE help for these dogs. The dogs were taken from a hot car, placed into the dog pound vehicle, and then not checked for FORTY MINUTES according to public records. It took the two employees ONE HOUR to get from Utica to the Buckeye Lake area. Why? Mapquest says it’s a 36 minute drive. But we know there was a veterinarian THREE MINUTES away! (MapQuest also says it is 24 minutes from the pound to the scene in Utica but the pound got there in 15 minutes according to their report.)

According to public records, another complaint was filed on John Silva (by an employee) claiming that Silva “intimidated me in such a way that it left me extremely upset and very uncomfortable.” The complaint continued that Silva’s “method of management (is) hostile and intimidating” and further states that “His bully approach does not create the type of positive work environment that I believe the county strives for.”

The follow up notes by the Licking County’s Human Resources Department state that Silva acknowledged that he would “focus on communicating in a less aggressive manner.” Personally, I don’t feel Silva should be aggressive at all! We all know what the former dog warden and Silva do to “aggressive” dogs.

By reviewing public records, and since the EIGHT pound employees only pick up stray dogs, it appears that the number of calls that the Licking County Animal Shelter (the pound) went on by the end of May were about 116. The City of Newark has their own ONE dog warden/humane officer (who does NOT work for the pound) and has done 539 calls in the same amount of time, by himself, without a gun, without handcuffs, and without riot or SWAT gear.

Our county commissioners are aware of the issues and complaints on Silva and I sincerely hope they address these problems to best suit the people and pets of Licking County. Because the two dogs that died on May 29th weren’t reported in the pound’s records, I may not have known about this had I not been informed by someone who was at the scene.

And since those dogs weren’t accounted for, how many others weren’t accounted for? I sincerely hope this NEVER happens again and it should not have happened this time. Our only county agency that deals with animals should have the best interest...the most HUMANE interest... of these pets at heart! It is my belief, and John Silva reaffirms my belief, that when a public agency has a problem giving you public records, it is because they have something to hide!

Bonnie Mansfield
Buckeye Lake

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