The “Peaceful Protest” at the Licking County dog pound on Saturday, May 3, was well attended t and very peaceful EXCEPT for the actions of one dog pound volunteer.
According to complaints filed at Licking County Human Resources, pound volunteer Shelly Myers told some of the protestors that the dog pound was private property and ordered them to leave. Myers also resorted to “acting very immature” such as name calling and inappropriate comments (including a derogatory comment about a family member of a pound employee), according to the complaints.
Included in the statements were complaints that Myers was behind the counter at the pound using the county’s computer and complainants felt volunteers should not be behind the counter where they could access private information. I totally agree with them since volunteers are not scrutinized in the same manner as an employee.
According to the “Volunteer Oath” at the pound, a volunteer must acknowledge that the pound “holds its volunteers to high standards in performing their duties as prescribed, and respectfully interacting with others” as well as “not promote any conflicts” or otherwise be subject to involuntary termination.” I do not know what actions have been taken to address these complaints but I will certainly share them when I hear.
On the day of the protest, there were huge banners at the pound (probably ordered as damage control) saying they have the lowest euthanasia rate in the state. But that is a false perception since the pound doesn’t take anything except a stray dog from the public. (And let me add that they only take stray dogs when they are open although they claim to have someone on call 24/7. If you find a stray dog after 4 p.m., you are not typically going to get help from the pound unless it has bitten someone or is seriously injured and in both cases I believe the dog will most likely be euthanized). Myself and many other people in the community have taken stray dogs in overnight just to keep them from getting hit and get them returned safely to their owner. On many occasions and maybe just to make life difficult for those of us who are doing their job, the pound won’t pick them up and we have to drive the dogs to the pound ourselves. Although services to the public were drastically reduced by Silva, the pound’s operating budget was not!
The budget for the pound is about $500,000 per year and most of that goes towards salaries and benefits. As I have said before, it is time for the Licking County Humane Society to take over the dog pound. With the humane society at the helm, we wouldn’t have the worry or fear of animals being euthanized just because of their breed AND it would be less expensive for the taxpayers!
Prior to John Silva coming to Licking County, only five or six pound employees answered humane calls (complaints about animals being neglected/abused); took in dogs AND cats (that were strays as well as owner surrenders); and usually had 40 kennels full of dogs and two cat rooms (that will easily hold about 60 cats) with cats. (Don’t get me wrong…I am in no way claiming that the former dog warden and their employees didn’t have issues.) But now there are EIGHT employees doing much less work! On the day of the protest there were only about 10 dogs at the pound.
Silva (retired dog warden from Cuyahoga County) has hired another “intermittent” employee and, like most of the employees Silva hires, this one is also from another county. The new hire is Kendall Spray and she is also currently employed at the Knox County pound. That makes at least three people currently employed at our pound that Silva hired from the Knox County pound.
More next week…