Monday, June 9, 2014

Kevin Wilken Fired From Saginaw Animal Services

A chapter in Wisconsin (and Michigan) animal welfare history has finally ended. Kevin Wilken was fired from his position at Saginaw Animal Services in Michigan after being suspended and put on paid administrative leave since December 2013.  The county board voted unanimously (9-0) to fire him on May 28, 2014.

Violations included: improper adoption practices, issues with an animal's cage which led to its death, and 83 instances where the shelter killed an animal before the stray holding period was up. You can read the whole story at this link.

Kevin Wilken was employed at Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission (MADACC) until October 2012.  His performance was under review for several months and both he and David Flagler were escorted out of the building.  They were apparently "asked to resign".  No reasons for the terminations of their employment were ever given and both quickly went on to new positions in animal shelters in other states. 

Many of the problems that I wrote about in a series of blogs in late 2012 were things that would have been under Kevin's control in his position as Kennel Manager.  To know that he went on to a new shelter to continue the cruelty for over another year is a travesty. MADACC's operating committee had the opportunity to see that his career in animal sheltering ended at MADACC but they didn't. 

Fortunately, Mr. Google will ensure that Wilken's reputation will now precede him whenever he applies for a job.  Thank you to the Michigan newspapers and other media that followed the story of his suspension, the investigation and his dismissal. Thank you also to the Saginaw County Board who had the courage to fire Wilken and make the findings public. You have done a service to the animals and the taxpayers. I wish the MADACC board would have done the same. Many animals and tax dollars could have been saved.   

Just a heads up:  Kevin Wilken's name is associated with two other organizations:

Humane Consultations: The mission of Humane Consultations is to provide animal shelters, animal control agencies, and rescue organizations comprehensive consulting services and trainings at an affordable price. Humane Consultations will focus on providing personal and specialized services to meet each client’s specific needs.

I would suggest that if you or your shelter are approached to host or attend a webinar by Humane Consultations you run, not walk in the other direction.

Wisconsin Animal Control Association:  Although Wilken's name has been removed from this website, the Humane Consultations website makes this statement: "He has also served as the Vice President for the Wisconsin Animal Control Association.  Over the years, he has overseen large impoundments that has included dogs, cats, rabbits, farm animals, birds, alligators, anacondas, venomous reptiles, and rodents.  Mr. Wilken has been published numerous times in the animal welfare field and has conducted training  for the National Animal Control Association and the Wisconsin Animal Control Association."

I sleep better at night knowing the Kevin Wilken is gone.  I hope his dismissal serves as a reminder to others employed in the animal welfare field that people are sitting up and taking notice of what they do. Taking notice of how many animals go out the front door alive, and how many go out the back door to the incinerator or the dumpster.  Taking notice of the conditions the animals live in, and the way the shelter interacts with volunteers, adopters, donors and the community. If you see something that isn't right, say something.  The animals are depending on you.

“A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody.” 
― Thomas Paine


  1. Thank you Kathy. You have never given up on the evils committed by this man. As you said Thanks to Mr. Google his reputation will precede him. I also thank you for this as well. Denise Spangler

  2. Thank you for shining a light here, Kathy! Powerfully written.