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Are the books being cooked at the pound?



Editor:

Licking County Dog Warden John Silva must have gotten lost on his way to business management classes and went to chef’s school instead!

He, in my opinion, is best at “cooking the books” at the pound. ‘Cooking the books’ is a term that is used to create an appearance of something that doesn’t really exist! For example: Trying to make the pound appear to be a no-kill facility when, in fact, dogs that are euthanized are not even entered into the records. It’s as if they were never there. I contend that ALL dogs should be recorded, especially whenever county money is spent.

The pound used to record dogs on an electronic record that they titled the State Sheets. I have requested and received the State Sheets for YEARS and have used the data to answer many questions. They provided answers to: how many dogs did the pound take in; where did the dog come from; was it adopted, euthanized, rescued or redeemed; how much money was received for this dog, etc. John Silva eliminated the State Sheets last July. He stopped video taping at the pound last June. I believe he eliminated these public records to thwart my effort to ‘watchdog’ the pound.

Recently, I requested records from the pound called the “Notice To” forms. The Notice To forms are records that are created in hard copy whenever a dog comes to the pound. Basically, they have (or are supposed to have) the same information as the State Sheets. Instead of Silva making the copies and letting me pay for them when I pick them up (as I have been doing in other public offices for 10 years), I now have to drive down there and pay for the records before they would even make the copies and then pick them up the next day.

Isn’t Silva smart enough to know that any time a public official makes the public jump through hoops to get PUBLIC records that just makes people more anxious to see what they’re hiding! So here’s a little of what I found …….

According to public records, I found financial discrepancies between the records kept at the pound and what Silva reports to the treasurer. Just in one month’s time, I have found almost $400 not listed on the treasurer’s report.

I have found time sheets for pound employees that seem to elude to theft of time. Only one person is on call per night and the “on call” person gets paid $20 just for being on call. If they have to go out, there is additional pay. There are several occasions where two employees claim to be on call the same nights and both have been paid. Silva should be checking these time sheets! He either doesn’t know how or is just not doing his job!

I found a video (from last year) that shows a pound manager appearing to be putting something in his pocket after taking his hands out of the cash drawer. (https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=wTCKc5jj0dI) I believe this should be a good reason to KEEP the videos on at the pound and, in fact, add more!

Silva spent nearly $50,000 on another new truck and is creating a “vehicle fund” to hold over a half million dollars! On December 30, 2014, $100,000 was moved to that fund.

The two new trucks are being driven home by full time employees who both live in the Utica area. Taxpayers are not only providing a brand new vehicle for these guys to drive to and from work but we’re also paying for the fuel!

I question the firearms training for the pound employees. I don’t believe they are properly trained and I don’t understand why Silva isn’t using the Licking County Sheriff’s Office for this training.

This could be a HUGE liability issue for the county, but I pray that it doesn’t come to that. This is the same issue that happened in 2010.

At that time, the commissioners issued notification directed to Luzio that said, “You are hereby ordered to immediately discontinue use of all firearms currently issued to you…You are also ordered to unload and secure said firearms until further notified and have no access to firearms…. until the following is provided: 1) required firearms certification; 2) Provide a list of make, model, caliber and serial number of all firearms in the possession of Licking County Department of animal control; 3) acknowledge and sign…Use of Force /Firearms policies.” After which Luzio signed a notice that he reviewed the firearms in-service training lesson plan of the Licking County Sheriff’s Office.

More to come …

Bonnie Mansfield
Buckeye Lake



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