THOMSON, Ga. (WJBF)– McDuffie County is conducting an internal investigation into its animal shelter after accusations of animal cruelty began circulating online.
This YouTube video sparked outrage online.
Accusations mentioned in the video were brought to a McDuffie County Commission meeting, which prompted the internal investigation.
“We want to make sure that we are being as responsive as we can to these concerns and these accusations. They’re heartbreaking, truly,” said Jason Smith of McDuffie County Community Development.
The accusations mentioned in videos posted by 2 Hands Saving 4 Paws Humane Society range from animal cruelty, to euthanizing animals that were already slated to go to homes or other communities.
Smith outlined the accusations to NewsChannel 6: “Definitely animal cruelty is in there. We’ve received countless specific examples of that and from various people. There’s also some concerns about some record keeping that needs to be better. The reports that we send to the state. There are varying other concerns related to oversight.”
McDuffie County Animal Shelter has two full time employees. Both are on paid leave during the investigation.
“I want the cruelty to the animals to stop at the hands of the county employees. The ones that are supposed to care for those animals, the ones that we pay for. The ones that we pay for are abusing our animals,” director of 2 Hands Saving 4 Paws Humane Society, Maria Salvaggion, in a video posted to YouTube.
The Georgia Department of Agriculture requires animal shelters to have a supervising veterinarian. McDuffie County’s supervising vet has resigned. No allegations have been brought against him. Until he is replaced, the shelter cannot reopen.
All McDuffie County shelter animals have been relocated to Atlanta.
“On our side, on the internal investigation, we fully expect to be wrapped up this week. We fully expect to have some formal announcements related to that by the end of this week,” Smith said.
The Georgia Department of Agriculture will be conducting a full inspection of the facility.