When I last wrote about the Saginaw Co pound in MI, it was to praise the local advocates who stood up for the animals being neglected at the pound, even after then-director Val McCullough instituted retaliatory policy changes in an attempt to stifle their efforts. That was in August 2012. Ms. McCullough quit in the middle of the ensuing investigation and the county hired Kevin Wilken to replace her in November 2012. His leadership was fraught with controversy as well. In December 2013, Kevin Wilken was escorted from the pound by members of the county sheriff’s office. The county declined to comment on the reason for his removal except to clarify he had been placed on leave with pay.
This week, new information came to light. After at least one local advocate complained to the county and the state about the mistreatment of shelter animals under Kevin Wilken, Saginaw Co hired a consultant to conduct an evaluation of pound operations. The resulting report contained evidence of possible crimes and was sent to the county prosecutor and MI state police, who opened an investigation. A county press release references both the consultant’s report and the state investigation of the pound:
“During the operational assessment and state’s investigation, the county became concerned that several animals under the care of SCACC may not have received proper palliative care for their injuries or illnesses,” the release states.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has since notified the county that they face a hearing regarding the allegations of wrongdoing on March 7.
“Specifically, the Saginaw County Animal Care failed to follow statutory requirements, and recommended and accepted good practices in the care of shelter animals including but not limited to proper holding, proper sanitation, adequate housing, proper handling of perishable food and proper disposal of dead animals,” the notice states.
Additional details on the allegations:
- One dog was allegedly housed in a kennel in a state of disrepair which allowed a neighboring dog to injure him. The injured dog was allegedly left to needlessly suffer and later ordered killed by Kevin Wilken.
- More than 100 animals were allegedly killed before their state mandated holding periods had expired.
- Pet food was allegedly improperly store and infested with insects.
- More than 200 animals were allegedly adopted to unlicensed groups
No charges have been brought against Kevin Wilken. He remains on paid leave. An ACO has been running the pound in his absence.
(Thanks Clarice for sending me links on this story.)