New director plans to take over animal center - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

New director plans to take over animal center that was the center of controversy

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SAGINAW (WJRT) -

(10/17/12) - The Saginaw County Board of Commissioners has found someone to run the county's Animal Care Center.

Former director Val McCullough stepped down under heavy criticism in August.

Last night, the board made a formal job offer to fill her position. Eleven people were interviewed for the job.

Kevin Wilken plans to accept the job.

"It's not going to be a one-person effort, it's going to be a community-wide effort. It's going to take a lot of people, it's going to take a lot more community support to be able to bring in more adopters," Wilken said.

Wilken is already looking ahead to his new job. Former director Val McCullough came under heavy fire this summer for policies that some critics said were close to animal abuse.

"Read about the community being unhappy about the high euthanasia rate and I've looked into it, it is indeed pretty high. I have a past history of being able to work with rescue groups and other shelters and being able to transfer animals to other facilities, lower that euthanasia rate," Wilken explained.

The board of commissioners want to clean up the Animal Care Center's image. Some members admit there wasn't enough communication with the former director.

"The biggest challenge was we didn't stay in contact with the director enough and she didn't report to us enough. We'll be changing that. We'll be looking at the advisory committee a little bit more closely and changing some public policy there. We're not finished. We're not turning our back now that we've hired him," said Cheryl Hadsall, a board of commissioners member.

Wilken is currently the shelter director at the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission.

He hopes to start his new position sometime in November.

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