Saginaw County Commissioners fire animal control director amid controversy

Saginaw County Animal Control Director Kevin Wilken awaits the Commissioners decision.

The Saginaw County Commission voted to remove the animal control director from his position following allegations of several state violations.

Commissioners voted unanimously to fire Kevin Wilken, who took the post less than two years ago and collected about $24,000 since being put on paid administrative leave in December.

Most of the meeting was done in closed session because it concerned a personnel issue.

â??We have to have an effective animal control unit and we don't feel that under the direction of this animal control director that that could happen,â?? said Commissioner Jim Theisen.

The state says, under Wilkenâ??s oversight, the department committed several violations including improper adoption practices and more than 80 instances of dogs and cats being euthanized before the stateâ??s mandatory four day holding period.

Board of Commissioners Chairman Mike Hanley says the county had cause to fire Wilken.

â??There has been many findings related to his job description that indicated, the state concluded, that he did not perform,â?? said Hanley.

Commissioners say they have a senior animal control officer in place as an interim director and they are happy with her performance. Hanley says the department has addressed 99 percent of the issues and is working to update the policy handbook to complete the requirements.

Wilken declined to comment on the decision.

The chairman of the board says the search for a new director will begin immediately.