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Deputies: Jasper mayor let his cows wander away from property without food or water

Posted at 1:50 PM, Feb 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-05 18:34:12-05

HAMILTON COUNTY, Fla.(WTXL) — The mayor of Jasper is facing charges of animal cruelty. The charges stem from an ongoing problem with his cattle roaming around the neighborhood.

Darnell Lumpkin is still serving as the Mayor of Jasper, and according to the city manager, the only way that'll change is if he resigns.

That's because Lumpkin is innocent until proven guilty and the city council doesn't want to rush to any decision before the conclusion of the investigation.

Lumpkin is facing 13 charges of allowing his livestock to roam freely, and one count of animal cruelty stemming from a dead cow found on his property.

Arrests documents, provided to us by the Suwannee Democrat, say there wasn't enough food and water for the 23 cows and one goat found on the property and the fencing wasn't secure enough to keep them on his land.

The city manager of Jasper tells ABC 27 that if Lumpkin is found guilty, the city attorney will work with the governor to decide if he will be removed. The city attorney is also currently drafting up a plan to address how the city and people living in Jasper will work together to move forward.

No one was willing to go on camera.

The city will hold a commission meeting Monday evening, but as of now, the issue is not on the agenda.

City of Jasper mayor Darnell Lumpkin is facing animal cruelty charges after deputies say they found a rotting cow carcass and several cow skulls on his property.

The Suwannee Democrat provided ABC 27 with the arrest documents from the initial report they released Tuesday. Lumpkin, 67, was just in court last spring for letting his cattle roam freely.

According to those arrest documents, Hamilton County deputies responded to Mayor Lumpkin's home back in October 2019 after around 10 cows were seen on on County Road SW 59th Drive.

The Suwannee Democrat reports that within the next 10 days, deputies saw signs that the cattle were still out and received two additional calls about them being on the road.

On Nov.17, a neighbor contacted law enforcement about the cows being in his yard and even sent in a picture.

By the time deputies arrived, there were 12 cows in the yard. There were 11 more cows either in the field or in the woods in the area.

In total, authorities found 23 cows on Lumpkin's property.

Deputies say the fences the cows were being kept in were in the same poor condition they were in a month earlier. An arrest report states there was also no grass in the pasture and vultures were circling the area.

While investigating the scene, investigators found a fresh decomposing cow carcass. Deputies also noticed cattle bones scattered throughout the property.

When deputies checked to see how many carcasses had been left behind from previous deaths, they found at least eight more cow skulls.

Documents note that there was no hay out or any other sources of feed. Deputies also didn't see any water source for the animals other than rainwater that had been collected in water tubs.

Based on the poor conditions deputies observed during their investigation, Mayor Lumpkin was arrested on Jan. 31. He is being charged with two counts of animal cruelty and 21 counts of permitting livestock to run at large.