McDuffie County Pet Shelter remains closed; the investigation continues

MCDUFFIE COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) — A padlock and chains are keeping the doors of the McDuffie County Animal Shelter closed at this time.

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

Instead, investigations are ongoing after several serious allegations.

We have more on these allegations and what’s next for the animals that rely on the shelter.

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

“At first I was heartbroken,” said community development worker Jason Smith.

This is how Smith responded to allegations of extreme animal cruelty and paperwork anomalies.

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

Since then, he says, the three employees, including the supervising veterinarian and two shelter employees, have moved away from the shelter.

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

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

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

Smith says the big challenge is to prove the claims.

“We’ve heard from a lot of people, both positive and negative. Many people contacted us and told us that it happened five years ago, six years ago. Seven years ago. It is difficult in our situation to confirm these allegations,” he said.

County leaders have been talking about the future, seeking to make whatever comes next with shelter more public.

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

This investigation is ongoing and we will continue to update information as we receive it.

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