This is in response to the story in last week’s Beacon, “Luzio responds to cat claim, defends record.”
Dog warden Jon Luzio claims that he does not sell dead cats for “research” purposes. However, he DOES sell them to Great Lakes Biological who DOES sell them to research labs. Luzio has no control over who gets the cats and his double-talk is really his legacy as far as I’m concerned. And the fact that he says he is running a “cat rescue” is heinous!
I spoke to Joan Settina and she says the statistics she was quoting came from records at the pound. She also says, “I already support two feral families on my farm sanctuary brought to me by rescues.”
Luzio implied that only bodies of these “FERALS” (strays) are sold because no one is interested in them. How would research facilities know if a dead cat is feral? I was told that the cats must be somewhat healthy and cannot be injured (such as obviously hit by a car or mauled, free of disease, etc.) in order to be sold. That would make someone’s pet cat a prime candidate for Luzio’s “cat rescue.”
Luzio stated that he receives “unadoptable stray cats brought to us in live traps by the public and public entities like the Buckeye Lake Street Department” and that “ these cats cannot be tamed and rescue groups are not interested in them.” Granted, we can’t save them all, BUT these cats need to be given the chance for an owner to claim them. Those of you who have cats know that even the tamest pet cat might not be so tame if put in a live trap. They are scared and frantic. They deserve the chance to be viewed by the public to make sure they have no owner to claim them. Their picture (as with ALL animals entering the pound) should be posted on the Internet just like the inmate list at the Sheriff’s Department.
Luzio’s “college degree” and $55,000 per year salary still can’t buy him common sense because he thinks he is running a cat RESCUE by just killing them when they come in! I have heard certain employees at the pound say that NO ONE WANTS BUCKEYE LAKE CATS and Luzio’s statement pretty much confirms that discerning attitude.
Accurate records of cats are not kept and, therefore, we have no idea of how many cats really come in to the pound. We only know the death rate of 80%, and with accurate records it could be much higher.
Another issue at the pound is the donation jar sitting on the counter. It gives people a false sense of helping and if you watch closely, you will see employees (including management) reach into the jar to “make change” or whatever else. The sign on the donation jar has a picture of a dog and says, “Help Me.” People drop money into the jar thinking they are contributing to the care of the animals, BUT office manager John Silva says the money goes into the general fund and cannot be earmarked for a specific purpose. I have seen people bring in a cat, hand money to an LCAS employee, and the employee sticks the money in the so-called donation jar on the counter rather than entering the transaction into the books. So, dropping money into the donation jar at the pound is no different than sending the money to county commissioners to be put in the general fund. It could be going for an undeserved raise for a county employee!
According to public records, the lives of 28 cats and eight dogs were ended in May. The “figures” rose in June when 51 cats and 17 dogs were put down. So far, I do not know how many of these bodies were sold to Great Lakes Biological, but Luzio’s “cat rescue” has a serious flaw!
Positive changes are coming to the pound…such as Sunday hours, beginning July 11. Credit goes to our new Humane Officer Paula Evans along with some local rescue and community groups that are diligently trying to make the pound a true “shelter” for animals. But for positive changes to become PERMANENT, management at the pound has to change. Although Paula Evans and I have disagreed on some things, I think there’s a lot of people who believe she would be a good replacement for Luzio. Who better to ensure humane treatment for animals in Licking County than our own Humane Agent?!