THOMSON-MCDUFFIE COUNTY, Ga. (WJBF) – Wendy Ivey, the former Director of Animal Services for Bullock County, will be the new head of the Thomson-McDuffie County Animal Shelter.

This is part of the shelter’s rebuilding process after it closed last summer.

“We’re looking at someone who can come in here and rebuild a program from the ground up,” said Jason Smith, who’s in charge of community development for McDuffie County.

Smith tells NewsChannel 6 Ivey’s résumé and qualifications stood out the most out of all the applicants.

“She’s going to take care of all of that stuff on the front end, so that we’re doing this at the right pace, at the right thoughtfulness, so that we don’t have to play catch-up ever,” he said. “We’re going to put all the pieces in place to begin with, and she’s really the right person to help us do that.”

The shelter closed due to animal abuse allegations back in August.

A county and a Georgia Department of Agriculture investigation concluded that there was no evidence of animal abuse, and they’re waiting on the results of a GBI criminal investigation.

“Those two investigations, our investigation and the DoA, matter to the future of the shelter specifically,” Smith said. “Because the DoA is the oversight group for the state for shelters, and their findings would impact the standard operating procedures that we’re going to do moving forward.”

The former director and an employee left their positions after those investigations were announced.

Now, the county is focused on building a clean slate by hiring new staff and renovating the shelter.

“Now, the lone position we have open is our kennel technician position, it’s going to be the person who’s going in and cleaning the kennels and working with the animals, that sort of thing,” Smith said. “That position is still available. And that’s intentional. She’s the director of this department, she’s the one that we really want to be involved in the hiring process.”

Ivey starts on March 1st.

County leaders haven’t set an exact date yet for when the shelter will open back up, but said it should be in the next month or two.