Genesee County Board appoints new Animal Control director

FLINT — Former Davison police officer Jay Parker has been selected to be the next director for Genesee County Animal Control.

Last Wednesday, the Genesee County Board of Commissioners appointed Parker to the position by a 7-2 vote. Parker will be replacing Paul Wallace, who retired on Sept. 15 after serving the county for five years as its animal control director.

Parker, a retired City of Flint police officer, has also served with the Flint Bishop International Airport Police Department and the Davison City Police Department.

Commissioner Bryant Nolden said that Parker was the best candidate for the position because of his law enforcement background and his passion for caring for animals.

“He has a knowledge of the laws related to animal control,” Nolden said. “(Parker) is an avid dog and cat lover. He’s fostered about 15 dogs from animal control, and I know he has three cats (of his own).”

Nolden said that Parker’s MCOLES (Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards) certification also makes him well-qualified for the position, adding that Parker will be a valuable asset for the county in its efforts to curb dogfighting and other illegal activities involving animals.

Commissioner Brenda Clack, who voted against Parker’s appointment, said she was concerned that current Genesee Animal Control Deputy Director Renea Kennedy had been overlooked for the director’s position.

“(Kennedy) has proven (herself), and I feel that (she) should have been the selected person, who knows the landscape and has been involved with the new production of animal control,” Clack said.

Commissioner Mark Young said that he opposed Parker’s appointment because he felt that candidate resume information wasn’t made readily available to county board members.

“I don’t feel that this was done in an open and fair process,” he said. “I’ve heard of Mr. Parker as being an outstanding officer with the City of Flint and the City of Davison, but I cannot support this.”

Nolden, who co-chaired the animal control director hiring committee with Commissioner Shaun Shumaker, said that the interview process for candidates was open and transparent and had been supported by several local animal rights groups.

As the new animal control director, Parker will oversee the enforcement of animal control laws throughout the county, including the impoundment and removal of stray, unwanted or dangerous animals. He will also manage the enforcement of Michigan’s License and Leash laws, investigate cruelty and neglect complaints and assist other public safety organizations in animal-related cases.