What’s the status of the McDuffie County Animal Shelter?
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The McDuffie County Animal Shelter has faced serious allegations of abuse and neglect. Shortly after that, the county contacted the Department of Agriculture and the GBI to open an investigation.
We’re talking to county leaders about what’s next for the shelter and when we can see the gates back open.
“I understand that there are people who say that everyone on this end of the world knew everything going on, and that’s just not accurate. I can tell you that the staff that I’ve worked with had no idea of any of these allegations,” said Jason Smith, community development director.
Those allegations were claims of neglect, abuse, and mistreatment of animals in the shelter. The investigations found no evidence of that.
Dogs were not improperly euthanized, but it was due to a disease outbreak. The state did find discrepancies in the electronic recordkeeping of animals coming in and out of the shelter.
The county was fined $13,000, which will be suspended for two years if the county has no major violations in that time.
The county has agreed to pay $13,000 for repairs too.
“One thing about this process moving forward is we are truly starting with a clean slate,” he said.
The initial plans are to redo floors, ceiling tiles and paint the shelter. More importantly, find a new director to run the operation.
“I’m thinking six weeks. Worst case, we probably will have someone on board. That doesn’t mean the shelter will be open in six weeks. One of the things that we’re being very adamant about is when this person comes on, we are going to be relying on their expertise to guide our future,” said Smith.
The county has 60 days once this consent order is signed by the state to make all new policies and procedures for how the shelter will run. They expect these gates to be open in four to six weeks after a director is picked.
“I think in this case, a little bit of extra delay here will save a lot of headaches on the back end,” he said.
The GBI tells us they still have an open investigation related to the animal shelter. Smith says if charges come out, that will not impact the shelter, and they’ll continue to move forward.
Their goal is to have the community more involved and bring in more rescues to help them out.
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