Saginaw Co Faces State Hearing Regarding Mistreatment of Shelter Animals

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.)

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9 Comments

  1. How hard is it for these animal control facilities that are funded with taxpayer money, mind you, to do the right thing for animals under their care? How had is it to have a medical evaluation completed? What could possibly be more important that giving the animals proper care? I think these facilities should stop hiring the least common human denominators for these positions – you know, sadists, incompetents and morons!!!

    Reply
  2. mikken

     /  February 28, 2014

    I don’t even know what to say here. Do they have to work their way through all the abusers before they get to someone compassionate?

    Reply
  3. db

     /  March 1, 2014

    It’s a good sign that at least someone is looking into things here – there are a lot of problems in that part of the state and, although there are good folks trying hard, sometimes it does feel as if they are in the minority. Also hard here when the biggies, like Michigan Humane,are nothing more than a killing factory. I think that it creates a mistaken impression by the public that things are just hunky-dory (when they see the glossy media with happy families and little kids holding cute animals – not understanding how many others end up in the freezer). And, there need to be charges brought against this “person” who so blatantly kills and mistreats animals without a second thought.

    Reply
  4. What are your thoughts on preventing animal abuse at animal shelters? These people are hired to care for the animals, yet many times they are the ones inflicting abuse on them. Not saying that all animals shelters are cruel to their animals because that is NOT the case, but how can we ensure these animals are allowed the safe haven they deserve?

    Reply
    • I think it starts with shelter reform that has at its centerpiece an end to the killing of healthy/treatable animals. Once we end the status quo that killing is expected and sheltering is not, the system will stop attracting, and in some cases creating, monsters.

      Reply
  5. paigeandspaniels

     /  March 3, 2014

    It’s amazing to see this being talked about online! I was at the 2012 hearing and spoke to the board on the condition of the dog I had adopted from the SCACC.

    I really believe that people have just given up on the SCACC and at this point *no one* will be happy with how it’s run. Wilken definitely did wrong, but he also did a lot of good for the shelter and I hope they keep some of the policies he put into place.

    At this point though I have a suspicion that the SCACC will be closed for good.

    Reply
  6. paigeandspaniels

     /  March 3, 2014

    Reblogged this on The Hair of the Dog and commented:
    This is about the Animal Care Center I adopted Apollo from. It’s worth a look into if you are curious about the conditions Apollo was being held under, and what animals in Saginaw County are currently facing.

    Reply
  7. Bill

     /  May 9, 2014

    Saginaw animal shelter/control is a joke. Several weeks ago I called on my neighbor. He had 3 st. Bernards now only 2 because of neglect and over breeding one of the dogs died. The housing conditions that these dogs live in are horrible! It’s mice infested to where I walked into the house and there were a pile of dead nice under a table. I called animal control and reported about a sick dog and the others I believed were being neglected. They came to my neighbors house the next day and nobody was home so they left a note on the door. My neighbor called them and told them everything was ok and that was that. No follow up or nothing. I feel bad for these animals and it seems like the Saginaw animal shelter/ control doesn’t care at all. I wish I could do something. Does anyone have any suggestions?

    Reply
    • mikken

       /  May 9, 2014

      What about the health department? Maybe they can get a foot in the door…

      Reply

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