McGavock High School teacher pleads not guilty to animal cruelty after emu died

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A McGavock High School animal science teacher who was charged with three counts of animal cruelty after an emu in her care at the school died entered a plea of not guilty in court Wednesday.

Investigators charged Jessica Lumpkins in November 2019 after Metro Animal Care and Control discovered the emu had died. Four alpacas in the care of Lumpkins at the school had died previously.

Public Health Department spokesman Brian Todd says inspectors, on surprise visits, had told Lumpkins the animals were inadequately fed and kennels weren’t clean. Todd says Lumpkins was told the emu appeared thin and that when officers returned, the emu was dead.

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Thursday, November 19.

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