McDuffie County animal shelter to reopen despite investigation

Published: Oct. 10, 2022 at 6:38 PM EDT
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THOMSON, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - McDuffie County hasn’t had an animal shelter since it was shut down in late July.

The state Department of Agriculture and now the Georgia Bureau of Investigation are looking into allegations of extreme animal cruelty and paperwork issues.

Despite that, the county tells us they hope to have the animal shelter back up and running by December.

“December is honestly an aggressive timeline, but we want to be aggressive in this situation,” said McDuffie County Community Development Jason Smith.

McDuffie County is confident their investigation with the Department of Agriculture will go smoothly since they regularly evaluate the shelter.

The county says the parallel investigations with GBI and law enforcement are focused on the people who used to run the center and shouldn’t speak for the need to open.

“The investigations completely involve personnel that was here in the past and is no longer associated with the animal shelter in any shape, form, or fashion,” he said.

Some of the other new expectations for this re-opening are establishing more internal transparency, community engagement through events, and even reducing their euthanizations to less than 10 percent so they can qualify as a ‘no-kill center’.

“I can remember in my past that there were adoption fairs and that sort of thing, and I think our shelter kind of gotten away from that in recent years,” said Smith.

Aside from a planned physical and systematic renovation, the only delay they’re anticipating is filling the needed jobs.

“The bottom line is we’re making this shelter something the whole community can be proud of,” he said.

While Dec. 1 is being considered an aggressive timeline to get everything together, McDuffie County says the utility and need for the building speak for itself past the individuals being investigated.