THOMSON, Ga. (WJBF) – After more than a year of setbacks, the McDuffie County Animal Shelter is ready to re-open.

There are already 23 animals at the shelter.

Animal Services Director Micayla McClain, who was hired during the summer, has been making big changes since then to make sure all of them go to loving homes.

“There’s been so much negativity around the shelter being closed and all the allegations and everything that happened last year,” she said. “I’m ready to put some of those bad feelings to rest.”

The shelter closed last summer following animal abuse allegations. 

State and local investigations found no evidence of this, and the shelter recently passed its opening inspections.

“We’re happy that everyone involved in the shelter now, was not really involved with the shelter in the past,” said Jason Smith, the Community Development Director for McDuffie County. “So. we’re really starting with a clean slate, new policies, new procedures.”

Some new procedures are being active and posting found animals on Facebook.

In fact, they had their first reunification on Friday.

“Posted him onto Facebook, within five or ten minutes the mom had said ‘hey, that’s my Milkshake;’ we were calling him Lightning,” Smith said. “She’s already posted a picture with her daughter holding Milkshake. So those kinds of things are what we’re here for.”

Renovations have been done, and there is all new staff and equipment.

“The floor, new paint, new ceiling tiles – the building has had a massive overhaul,” McClain said.

The shelter’s max capacity is 40, but they’re working with the University of Georgia’s Archway Partnership to hopefully build a new one in the next few years.

“We want to get all of our policies and procedures in place, make sure everything works, make sure we’re doing everything right and doing the best care possible for the animals,” McClain said. “And be ready to expand – if we can do it right here, we can do it right anywhere.”

Above all else, they’re ready for the focus to be back on what’s most important: the animals.

“It took longer than anybody wanted, I’ll freely admit that. But, at the same time, we wanted to make sure that what we were doing was right, both for the animals and for the county we’re serving,” Smith said. “We’re making McDuffie County a more animal-friendly place.”

The soft opening is on Monday, October 9th from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The shelter’s hours are Monday-Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

If you’re missing your pet, McClain is asking you to send photos, a description, and contact information to the shelter’s Facebook page or

You can also reach out to them if you’re wanting to volunteer or foster, and they’re also accepting donations.