NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - A Metro Schools teacher has been indicted on charges of animal cruelty by the Davidson County Grand Jury.
Jessie Lumpkins faces three counts of animal cruelty after being cited on three occasions by Metro Animal Care and Control. Lumpkins was placed on administrative leave after she was cited for a third time for animal cruelty following the death of an emu in McGavock High School's Animal Sciences Program.
Lumpkins was originally cited in February 2019 after several alpacas used as part of the animal science program died on campus. Animal control officials said the citations were issued because Lumpkins had been warned that she needed to leave food and water out for the animals at night.
She was cited a second time in March when investigators found animals without water.
Records with Metro's Environmental Court, which oversees animal cruelty charges, show that the citations were dismissed.
When investigators returned on Nov. 5 for an inspection, they found animals in filthy conditions and an emu that was underweight. When an investigator made a surprise inspection on Nov. 14, Lumpkins told them that the emu was dead and admitted she did not take it to a veterinarian. According to the inspection report, Lumpkins refused to tell them how she disposed of the carcass.
A judge found probable cause for the case against Lumpkins to be sent to the grand jury on Jan. 30.
Judge Melissa Blackburn took the district to task, including McGavock principal Robbin Wall, if funding for feeding the animals wasn't available.
"If Metro is ultimately not providing the funding (for food and supplies), it's on their head too," Blackburn said during the hearing. "If we have to get the principal in here to get his attention next, let's get him in here."
Lumpkins will be arraigned in Davidson County Criminal Court on Oct. 14.