More controversy at Saginaw County Animal Care Center - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

More controversy at Saginaw County Animal Care Center

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(12/09/13) - There is more controversy at the Saginaw County Animal Care Center.

The director is on leave, but county officials are not saying why, or for how long.

ABC12 News has learned this is not the first time Kevin Wilken has been away from his job.

"There's been a lot of controversy, I know, in the last couple of months," Wilken said in November 2012.

That's what Wilken walked into when he took the job after Val McCoulough resigned a few months earlier. She was criticized for policy changes that some people believed were not in the best interest of the animal shelter.

Now, Wilken has his own critics.

ABC12 News has learned he was suspended in November for three days and now, Saginaw County Board of Commissioners Chairman Mike Hanley confirms Wilken is on leave, but because it's a personnel matter, Hanley cannot elaborate. Neither could animal care center volunteer Cheryl Lown.

"He's a nice guy, but I don't know everything that is going on," she said.

Lown is taking 15 dogs and cats to Lansing to a bigger animal care center because there's a better chance the pets could be adopted.

"They don't have the money to take care of the animals, so we send them out to places that do," she said.

Making sure animals get proper care is the stated reason behind the Friends to SAVE the Animal Shelter of Saginaw County Facebook page. A number of posts on the page are critical of Wilken's job performance.

Debbie Tighe is another volunteer who is not sure why Wilken is off the job for now, but hates to see more controversy at the animal care center.

"It's just kind of sad that this has to happen, because it doesn't hurt us volunteers, it hurts the animals and the care," she said.

We tried to reach Wilken for comment, Monday, but he did not return phone calls. For now, Hanley says a senior animal care center officer will run the facility while Wilken is on leave.

Friday, we learned the Michigan Department of Agriculture is investigating the operation of the care center.

We've also learned that Saginaw County Prosecutor John McColgan has forwarded reports on the animal care center to the Michigan State Police for its review.

Wilken is on leave for an indefinite period of time.

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