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Pound stoops lower; speed trap reputation grows


Just when I thought the county dog pound couldn’t stoop any lower, they limbo under the stick and come up with AUCTIONING dogs at the pound! This is supposedly Dog Warden David Shellhouse’s answer to eliminating “fights that used to break when two or more people wanted the same dog”.

I don’t believe that for a minute! I’ve never heard of a fight “breaking out” at the pound over two people wanting the same dog. In fact, previously, someone could put a hold on a dog and the cage card was marked to reflect that the dog already had a hold on it!

The form to bid on a dog at the Licking County Animal Shelter is titled “1st Choice Sealed Bid Auction”. Some points you will see on the form are: All adoptable impounded dogs will be available for a bid placed by the public. Bids must be at least $126; bids must be confidential; rebids by bidder will cancel out that bidders previous bid; bidders may rebid within allowable time frame; all bidders must be present at 8 am (the day the dog is available for adoption) when bids are opened.

The Licking County Animal Shelter (dog pound) does not screen adoptive homes for dogs and they are not requiring spay/neuter. Dog Warden Shellhouse is a sheep farmer who has brought his similar livestock auction into the pound. These dogs are pets…not livestock… unless you are thinking in terms of operating a puppy mill. If the dogs were altered before leaving the pound, breeders wouldn’t want them. Money comes first at the pound. The animals’ best interest comes last. (The Licking County pound has at least eight employees but only five dogs online available for adoption. I see that as a much bigger problem than more than two people wanting the same dog.)

And, speaking of problems…For the most part, I don’t have a problem with the way Magistrate Berryhill runs the Buckeye Lake Mayor’s Court. However, I do wish he would curb the foul language so that I could listen to the taped meetings without having to wear a headset so that my grandchildren can’t hear the sometimes colorful language. Here are some Buckeye Lake Mayor’s Court cases I thought were worth mentioning:

A woman, with a past history of theft, is found guilty and fined $500 for stealing and given a suspended jail sentence. She is put on probation for one year. She questions where the probation office is and is told, “We do not have a probation department or probation offices. The police are the ones who will keep an eye on you.”

In Buckeye Lake Mayor’s Court a trial reveals that a man has been charged with speeding by Officer Bartoe. Magistrate Berryhill tells the man that there is no prosecutor here tonight and states that he will not ask Bartoe any questions. “I won’t ask questions because it’s unfair to you. I know what he’s supposed to say but I can’t prompt him.”

The man, who is quite impressive in being his own attorney, questions Bartoe’s radar certification in which Bartoe replies with the typical response of having all kinds of certification. The man questions Bartoe about errors with the radar reading and things that can cause reflections and obstructions. I believe that Bartoe was either having trouble hearing the man or a little confused because at one point he wasn’t sure if he was sitting parallel to the road or perpendicular. But, regardless, as Bartoe was talking, the magistrate interrupted and told him not to volunteer any information.

After testifying that he was certain he wasn’t going 48 mph, and that he had also been through radar training, laser training and the police academy, the man was found guilty. He had given testimony on how to eliminate obstructions and to use laser instead of radar (because it has a more narrow beam) and questioned that the satellite dish and trees were causing an error with the radar reading. The magistrate told him if he could have shown that the satellite dish did it “then I probably would have paid some attention to you.”

In another trial, a woman was accused of doing 46 mph in a 35 mph zone. Bartoe testified that the woman was rude, insulting, and belligerent and refused to look at the radar when he offered. Magistrate Berryhill tells her “You could have done everything but shoot him and I wouldn’t be upset with you.”

The woman testifies that she WAS respectful and tried to ask Bartoe a question about how he clocked her to which she claims he became defensive and said he caught her popping over the hill (at Milldam and I-70 overpass). At this time, Bartoe apparently laughs, the magistrate says, “Jim” and the woman says, “I know you find that funny but my father was a cop and we were taught at a very young age to be respectful.”

The woman further testifies that she had her cruise control set at 41 mph and that she is absolutely guilty of going 6 miles over the speed limit but not 11 miles over. (This would have been as she was coming in to town on Milldam.) She claims that Bartoe apparently didn’t like the question she was asking. Magistrate Berryhill says, “I don’t know why but I’m going to find you not guilty. So get out of here before he pulls his weapon out.”

Court is over but the tape is running and Bartoe tells Magistrate Berryhill that the woman was the worst traffic stop he’s had in many years and that he would have liked to see he go to jail! The Magistrate offers an apology and tells Bartoe, “I owe you one.”

More next week…

Bonnie Mansfield
Buckeye Lake

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