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Employee’s exit interview letter details problems at dog pound


More expenditures at the Licking County Animal Shelter (aka Dog Pound) include meals paid for by the County for three employees at “firearms training” for three days that was allegedly in Ashland County. However, meals were eaten in Mt. Vernon, Ohio (except for one that Silva had the last day) and paid for by the County. The meals (breakfast was included) cost a total of $148.07 and included steak dinners and some were eaten at four and five o’clock in the afternoon (presumably on their way home since they didn’t stay up there).

But Silva did go to a conference in Columbus where he nursed on the county for another $264.02 which included two nights in a hotel (in Columbus OHIO… not Columbus, GA or somewhere outside of driving distance)!

Silva spent $510.72 on a new security video recording system “1 ch Audio, iPhone, Blackberry, 3G smartphone compatible;” $233.00 SecoLarm Enforcer Camera; and $240.00 to install these items. Another $348.61 was spent on a software package that creates digital documents. With this technology, there is no reason for public records NOT to be accessible online AND we should be able to easily access a live view inside the pound from our personal computers at home!! By this spending spree, Silva may have shot himself in the foot (excuse the pun since he had that incident where he mishandled the Taser although he didn’t hit anyone) and he can no longer justify not sending public records requests via email!

In a recent records request, I received an “exit interview” letter from an exemployee of the pound. The letter gives credence to some of the questionable activity that I believe Silva is involved in. Although I am not naming the ex-employee and some current employees, here are some excerpts from the letter:

Reason for leaving:

I loved my position with the shelter, but could no longer go home with a clear (conscious) after working for John Silva on a regular basis throughout the week. I enjoyed the co-workers, public, and animals, but could not handle working for such abysmal management. I have to say, he is nice when you meet him or when he has his political hat on, but he changes fast and easy.

I knew that going to HR would do nothing for the situation, since Silva makes it clear that he has control, and that he is basically untouchable.

This agency is toxic and needs a complete overhaul. As a taxpayer and Licking County resident, I was sickened by the lack of professionalism, misuse of County funds, vehicles, and accountability.

I did not see this at the start since I worked primarily weekends, but once I started working during the week, I saw the truth.

During my time with the agency, I saw firsthand how rude Silva was with the public, cutting them off when they spoke, telling them to leave when they brought in cats, just short of screaming at them. Offering no explanation why.

I have seen him talk down to his staff directly and question them in front of the public.

Additionally, Silva made comments that he would not hire any more females in the department after he started having issues with (a female employee). From my observations, and conversations, he started to direct his revenge on (the female employee) and made it clear that he wanted her gone and told me in person that he would do what he needed to do to eliminate her from the department. I witnessed (her) have to stay in the back just to avoid Silva when he worked due to her being scared of what he was going to do next to her.

I also do not agree how volunteers roam freely around the shelter and tell the staff what to do.

I also found out that the Facebook page that is for the County, is totally controlled by volunteers, and that not even Silva has a password to it. This leaves a major security issue since if they were to get mad, they could post negative or bias items that could not be removed immediately. It is more than clear that the volunteers run this shelter.”

As far as monetary responsibility, this is more than questionable. He showed and told me firsthand how he planned to hide or redirect funds into separate accounts to keep money from the Humane Society, which he makes no hesitation telling you how much he hates. He had told me at the end of 2013 that he was doing everything he could to spend all his money so the Humane Society did not receive anything or just the minimum from the County Commissioners.

One example is when he ordered the first Dog Truck. He had (an employee) pick out equipment for the vehicle, which he did at a reasonable price. Silva then took over the project and spent an additional 4000 dollars just to have the light bar upgraded so it would have green lights in it along with the red and blue ones that the original choice already came with.

Silva spends money on wallet badges, but then turns around and spends no money on upgrading dog cages or beds which are falling apart and on their last legs. He refused to buy (a female pound employee) new uniforms the entire time I was there, even after knowing she asked for them. Her clothes were tattered and falling apart and he refused to buy anything, but then when (a former female employee) left, he had her start wearing her old uniforms to address the issue. He even went as far as taking (the former female employee’s) badge, grinding the R off the name so it read SP#AY and having her wear it.

For example, the rollup door on the incinerator room has been broken for about six months. At one point, you had to get on your hands and knees to get under the door to move dead and frozen dogs from or into the freezer inside, or obtain extra cages. Upon the time I left, the door was finally rolled up, but not fixed, and the freezer that holds dead frozen animals is unlocked and accessible to the general public…

It only takes one day working with him to see how things are. He spends about 90 percent of his time on the phone talking with friends or doing work for the Ohio County Dog Wardens Association, or in the office avoiding the public.

To be continued…

Bonnie Mansfield
Buckeye Lake

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