McDuffie County official arrested over child’s exposure to THC

We’re learning new details after McDuffie County Animal Services Director Micayla McClain was arrested on a charge of cruelty to children.
Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 6:59 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 16, 2023 at 1:52 PM EST
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THOMSON, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - We’re learning new details after McDuffie County Animal Services Director Micayla McClain was arrested on a charge of cruelty to children after being placed on administrative leave.

McClain is charged with a felony count of cruelty to children for deprivation of sustenance and has a bond amount of $15,000.

She and her husband, Richard Allison McClain, who faces the same charge, were arrested and bonded out on Wednesday, according to jail records.

On Sept. 20, the McDuffie County Sheriff’s Office received a Division of Family and Children Services abuse/neglect report involving a 2-year-old being exposed to tetrahydrocannabinol, according to the report from the McDuffie County Sheriff’s Office.

Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the active ingredient in marijuana.

The caseworker investigated the allegation reported by medical personnel at Piedmont McDuffie and Wellstar AU Medical Center on Sept. 15.

At the hospital, it was discovered that the 2-year-old was transported due to being “groggy, crying and lethargic,” the report states.

Officials say the toddler was exposed to or ingested an unknown amount of THC.

Arrest warrants were issued for the parents after the completion of the investigation.

McClain has been placed on administrative leave on Thursday, officials say.

The county will meet on Nov. 21 to discuss the issue and what will happen moving forward. All of this will happen during executive session.

The shelter will continue to be open, but they aren’t accepting intakes and adoptions are by appointment only.

County officials state it was “necessitated by recent events in her personal life that have not affected the operation of the Animal Shelter and the care of the animals there.”

The shelter hasn’t had it easy over the last year.

County officials hired McClain in July to fill the position after the previous director, Wendy Ivey, resigned four months into the job.


Shortly after the shelter faced allegations of extreme animal cruelty and paperwork abnormalities in June of 2022, the county contacted the Department of Agriculture and the GBI to open an investigation.

The county looked to have the shelter open by December of 2022. When the shelter wasn’t open by then McDuffie County chose to be deliberate about the process instead of “here’s a deadline. Let’s meet it,” Jason Smith, Community Development Director, said last December.

The investigations found no evidence of neglect, abuse, or mistreatment of animals in the shelter.

The state did find discrepancies in the electronic recordkeeping of animals coming in and out of the shelter. The county was fined $13,000 and put another $13,000 into the building.

The shelter reopened in October after a year of setbacks.