Chief Investigative Reporter

Jeremy Finley is the chief investigator for News4 Investigates. His reporting has resulted in criminal convictions, legislative hearings before the U.S. Congress, and the payout of more than a million dollars to scam victims.

A teacher charged with animal cruelty can be seen in surveillance video dumping, with the assistance of four students, the body of an emu into a dumpster at McGavock High School.

Because the video contains the faces of students, even metro animal control and care had to file a subpoena to obtain a copy.

Jessie Lumpkins is currently on leave with pay pending an investigation into the deaths of animals in the animal sciences program at McGavock, along with three reports of animals not having enough food and water.

Lumpkins was cited twice by metro animal care and control in February and March for animal cruelty, for various reasons including animals not having enough water.

In a disciplinary letter, obtained by News4 Investigates, Lumpkins is warned that the program could be shut down indefinitely if changes weren’t made.

In November, metro animal care and control inspectors did another inspection and found an emu that was underweight and advised that a veterinarian be brought in.

When inspectors did an unannounced inspection shortly afterwards, they said Lumpkins informed them that the emu had died, that she had not called in a veterinarian, and would not reveal where the animal’s body was.

News4 Investigates has confirmed that metro schools went back to review videos from the farm and found footage of Lumpkins and four students placing the dead animal in the school’s dumpster.

Lumpkins now faces a state citation of animal cruelty.

Lumpkins, who was named a 2020 Ms. Agriculture queen, has had her photos taken down from the organization’s social media pages and website.

“Because of the continued hate comments and messages we have received directed towards Ms. Lumpkins, we have been forced to remove her photos until after the court proceedings,” said Shannon Gallagher Wingert, national manager of operations for Ms. Agriculture.

Man wants revamp of McGavock High School program that killed emu he hatched

But several students contacted News4 Investigates to express their support for the teacher.

Kevonte Dorris, a senior in the agriculture students program at McGavock High School, said Lumpkins deeply cares for the animals.

“She does everything she can to make sure these animals are safe,” Dorris said.

Dorris said in one video, obtained by News4 Investigates, that shows an alpaca with open wounds, is not what it appears.

Dorris said another student accidentally cut the animal’s hair too close.

Dorris said it was Lumpkins who encouraged him to become a veterinarian one day.

“I feel like this incident has been blown out of proportion,” Dorris said.

Lumpkins did not respond to repeated calls or messages for comment.

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