McDuffie County pet shelter remains closed; investigation continues

Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 8:10 PM EDT
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MCDUFFIE COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - A padlock and chains are keeping the doors of the McDuffie County Animal Shelter shut for now.

The shelter closed at the end of July and was supposed to open this week after renovations.

Instead, investigations are ongoing after several serious allegations.

We have more on those allegations and what’s next for animals who depend on the shelter.

It’s been two weeks since the McDuffie County Animal Shelter closed, for what was supposed to be a scheduled renovation. But allegations came to light which caused the shelter to remain closed and left McDuffie County to react.

“Initially was heartbroken,” said Jason Smith, community development officer.

This is how Smith reacted to allegations of extreme animal cruelty and paperwork abnormalities.

“First of all, for the animals, it’s not something that we want to see. We have expectations in our community. So, we immediately, from the first hint of some weeks ago, launched our investigation,” he said.

Since then, he says all three employees, which include the supervising veterinarian and two shelter employees, have stepped away from the shelter.

Even with the investigation ongoing, one was eligible for retirement through the county and took it.

“It doesn’t matter how they leave. They get that retirement,” said Smith.

The county opened a tip line, where the county received more information.

Smith says the big challenge is proving the claims.

“We heard from a lot of people, both positive and negative. A lot of people reached out to us and said this happened back five years ago, six years ago. Seven years ago. It’s difficult in our situation to confirm those allegations,” he said.

County leadership have talked about the future, looking to make whatever comes next with a shelter more public.

“I think we will see a completely different focus on what we do. I think the community deserves that. The animals deserve that,” said Smith.

This investigation is ongoing, and we’ll continue to update information as we get it.

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