MCDUFFIE COUNTY, Ga. (WJBF) – McDuffie County Animal Services Director Micayla McClain has been placed on administrative after she and her husband, Richard McClain, were arrested and charged with first degree cruelty to children on Wednesday.
Both were released on a $15,000 dollar bond each.
The shelter re-opened back in October with McClain in charge after being closed for a year due to setbacks. County officials we spoke to said they’ve made great progress in the past month, and they want to continue that regardless of the current situation.
According to a Sheriff’s Office report, the department received a notification from Georgia DFCS on September 20th regarding the McClains’ 2-year-old child being exposed to THC.
The child had been transported to the hospital for being groggy, lethargic, and crying.
It was discovered that the child had been exposed to or ingested an unknown amount of THC and had to receive emergency medical treatment.
McDuffie County DFCS investigated the incident and issued arrest warrants for the couple for child cruelty.
The original report states they were arrested for deprivation of sustenance, which Sheriff’s Office officials said was an error.
The county has closed the shelter for intakes as there is now only one current employee, but adoptions are still available by appointment.
There was also a Department of Agriculture investigation for the shelter on Wednesday, which county officials said was passed with flying colors.
“The Department of Agriculture when they were here yesterday, looked at all of our animals, they looked at all our paperwork,” said Jason Smith, the Community Development Director for McDuffie County. “They have very few recommendations of things we could do a little differently, and the recommendations they had were extremely minor.”
While the shelter cannot take new animals, local nonprofit 2 Hands Saving 4 Paws Humane Society is prepared to help.
“All we want is just the most humane and respectful treatment in the care for the animals of McDuffie County. That’s my main goal,” said Maria Salvaggio, the director of 2 Hands Saving 4 Paws Humane Society.
A Wilkes County veterinarian said she’s known McClain for years, and has worked with her since she became director.
“She’s been very responsible and reliable. She was taking the job very seriously. I was happy for her, I thought this was a step in the right direction for her, I am happy for her,” said Samantha Canup, a veterinarian at Noble Creatures Veterinary Services. “And I hope that she can continue to do what she’s been doing because McDuffie County needed it.”
Smith said all of the animals at the shelter being taken care of is the top priority.
“We’re going to make sure that these animals are receiving love and attention because some of them have never gotten that,” he said. “We’re being as transparent and open as we can be, and I’m looking forward to what the future looks like.”
Smith said future plans for the shelter will be discussed at Tuesday’s board of commissioners meeting.