(02/26/14) - The Saginaw County Animal Care Center could face fines and even lose its license to operate, after a state investigation found a number of violations - including improper care of the animals.
The center director has been on paid administrative leave since December. The county became aware of possible problems at the shelter well before then.
A report from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development points out numerous problems at the Saginaw County Animal Care Center - animals adopted out to unlicensed shelters, failure to give proper medical care to animals that were eventually euthanized and inadequate storage of food and bedding, along with other violations.
The findings do not surprise Saginaw resident Deirdre McDonald.
McDonald says she complained to Saginaw County Commissioners about how the care center was being run by director Kevin Wilken, who was hired in November of 2012.
"What happened is I ended up being labeled as a crazy animal lady," she said.
She says she started sending her complaints to the State Department of Agriculture.
"I felt somewhat vindicated," she said. "I have been waiting for this report probably longer than anybody because this is the labor of my work."
County officials say once they became aware of possible rules and regulations violations, they took action by hiring a consultant, which lead to the state investigation. While the findings might have put the future of the center in jeopardy, MacDonald is hoping it will remain open.
"We could have a role model shelter here, but yet, if you don't have the right leader, it can't happen," she said.
We couldn't reach Kevin Wilken for comment. There will be a hearing on March 7 in Lansing, where Saginaw County officials and Kevin Wilken will respond to the violations that were found in the report.
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