I began writing letters to the editor of The Beacon about 10 years ago. It was my opinion that, as long as the public wasn’t aware of what was going on, public officials could virtually beat up on me and other citizens in several ways: by allowing or encouraging their agencies and/or police department to harass people (as Kirkersville once did); or by making it difficult to be able to see PUBLIC records. My letter-writing campaign was a way for me to bring public records out in the open for the public to see and a way for the public to see what I have to go through to obtain public records. And maybe to point the finger in the right direction if something mysterious were to happen to me! Although Kirkersville is pretty much a moot point now, there is still a very much alive set of GOB’s (Good Ol’ Boys) in Licking County, Ohio!
On February 10th, I asked to view video surveillance tapes from the dog pound cameras. I believed I would see a couple of interesting things and NOT see some other interesting things. For example, I believed I WOULD see former dog warden and now current volunteer, Jon Luzio, assessing dogs (which would not be a good thing for the dogs). And I believed I would NOT see current dog warden (and long time best friend of Luzio’s), John Silva, at the pound when his hand written time cards say he is at work.
Here we are SIX MONTHS later and I have still not been provided the opportunity to view these public records! It has been determined, and the county prosecutor’s office has agreed, that they cannot charge me to VIEW these records. I am told that the 30-day tape and recorder was taken out of commission and is being preserved for me to view. I was also told that they bought new recording equipment and now only have to hold the recordings for one week.
However, I just recently learned that the dog pound is no longer video taping at the pound! The July 24th Commissioner’s minutes state, “10:30 John Silva – Animal Control -…Effective June 30th the record retention schedule was updated, which includes the deletion of video recording requirements.” It seems that Silva makes more effort reducing services than any thing else! (No longer doing humane calls, no longer taking cats, no longer taking owner surrendered dogs, no longer video taping….)
After YEARS of requesting and receiving the “State Sheets” (a record kept by the pound that details all dogs that are seized or impounded) which led me to see that Silva failed to include (and lied about the situation in writing) two beautiful dogs that died needlessly at the hands of two pound employees, Silva is doing away with the state sheets! Silva’s email to me states that the “state sheet’ is actually not a record that we are mandated to maintain. Therefore, the last copy has been attached.”
I filed a complaint on June 26 with the Licking County Commissioners regarding the actions of John Silva, Larry Williams and Kris White and their roles in the death of/and not reporting the two dogs. A month later, I was told they hadn’t received the complaint (although others who were copied DID receive it) and I re-filed it. On the morning of July 29, less than an hour after the Commissioners started their session, I received an email from the commissioner’s clerk stating “The Board of Commissioners is in receipt of the enclosed e-mail. The Board believes that no action is required and therefore this matter is considered closed.”
So…to recap… John Silva, WITH THE BLESSING OF THE COMMISSIONERS, is now doing away with video surveillance and the State Sheets. AND no one is reprimanded for their actions or inactions in the death of the dogs! What keeps this from happening again? (These two dogs were left in a hot car after their owner was slain with a machete. They are listed as “victims” on the pound’s own records. They were alive when they were taken from the car and put into the dog pound vehicle. Not only did they not receive IMMEDIATE attention, the pound employees didn’t even check on them for FORTY minutes. This should NEVER have happened and should surely NEVER happen again!)
So that those two dogs don’t die in vain, I urge everyone to email each of the Licking County Commissioners: Tim Bubb at firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com> , Doug Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com> and Duane Flowers at firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com> ) or call them at 740-670-5110 and ask them if this is really what is best for Licking County and our pets!