JASPER, Fla. — Darnell Lumpkin, a City of Jasper councilman as well as mayor, was arrested Friday on outstanding warrants for animal cruelty.

In addition to the two counts of animal cruelty, the 67-year-old Lumpkin was also charged with 21 counts of permitting livestock to run at large.

The warrants stem from incidents in October and November.

According to Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office reports, the suspect was in court last spring for his cattle roaming freely due to not repairing fences.

In October, an HCSO deputy was dispatched to the area when approximately 10 cows were on County Road SW 59th Drive. The cows ran off the road into the woods toward the suspect’s field when the deputy arrived.

The report states that a witness told authorities that the cows had been at SW County Road 158, a mile further up the road.

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 Oct. 24, while waiting for the suspect to respond, the report states that a deputy investigated where the cows were getting out and saw a well-worn area where the fence was less than a foot off the ground.

There were several other places where the fence was down with tree limbs on top that had been there so long they were decaying.

The report states that the field was so heavily grazed that there was nothing substantial for the cattle to eat, leading to them seeking other forage.

On Nov. 17, a neighbor contacted HCSO about the suspect’s cows being in his yard. He sent a photo of eight cows.

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

The report states that repairs had been made on the fence, including adding a post and barbed wire in places, but that the fence was still in poor condition and there were numerous places the cows could easily get out.

According to the report, there was still no grass in the pasture and vultures were circling in the sky. When a vulture landed, a deputy approached and saw a dead, decomposing cow carcass. The deputy then looked around and found at least eight more skulls in the area.

The report adds that the cows had no hay left and there were no other sources of feed in the pasture and that there was just some rainwater that had collected in water tubs.

Jamie Wachter is the editor of the Suwannee Democrat, Jasper News and Mayo Free Press.

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