LEXINGTON — An Overton man has been found guilty of causing the death of dozens of livestock.

According to court records, Eugene Wempen Sr., 60, pleaded no contest Monday in Dawson County District Court to one count of felony cruelty and neglect to animals. Three additional felony cruelty and neglect to animals and four misdemeanor cruelty and neglect to animals were dropped in a plea deal.

A no contest plea is neither an admittance nor denial of guilt, but the plea is treated the same as a guilty plea.

Wempen and his wife, Diane Wempen, 60, and son Eugene Wempen Jr., 34, were charged with animal abuse in April following a report of animal neglect on their farm northeast of Overton, according to an April Dawson County Sheriff’s Office press release. Court records say when a deputy arrived at the scene he observed 55 animal carcasses in corrals and other animals that showed signs of malnutrition and sickness.

A search warrant then was obtained, the news release said, and about 75 live cattle, along with llamas, donkeys, miniature ponies, horses, goats and sheep were relocated.

Hay allegedly was found on the property, court records say. DCSO and livestock professionals immediately fed the animals.

Diane Wempen and Eugene Wempen Jr. have pleaded not guilty to the charges and await trial scheduled for March 12.

Wempen’s sentencing is set for Feb. 11. He faces up to two years in prison.

@erikadpritchard

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