Three members of a rural Overton family appeared in Dawson County Court on Wednesday afternoon in connection with an investigation into animal neglect on rural property northeast of Overton. Diane Wempen and Eugene Wempen Sr., both 59, along with 33-year-old Eugene Wempen Jr are charged with four felony counts and four misdemeanor counts each of abandon or cruel neglect of livestock or an animal. Bonds for each were set at 10% of $5,000, which has since been posted for them. Preliminary hearings all three family members were set for May 1st at 3:15pm.
The investigation began around 9:00am on April 12th following a call to the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy observed several cattle deceased in corrals and others displaying outward signs of possible malnutrition and sickness. A search warrant was obtained for further investigation. At the time, Chief Deputy Mike Hudson said the Sheriff’s Office, in cooperation with area veterinarians and producers were caring for and providing the appropriate nutrition for the remaining animals.
Sixty-five(65) head of cattle are dead, 75 head of cattle have been relocated from the property. All other animals located on the property were removed and being further taken care of also. They include llamas, donkeys, miniature ponies, horses, goats, sheep and hogs.
An arrest affidavit said a there were several feed bunks located throughout the property, none appeared to contain any feed that the animals could eat. Some hay on the property was fed to the animals by the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office and livestock professionals. The animals were not relocated on the first day of the investigation because it appeared that many of them would not survive the loading and unloading process.
Court records says two search warrants were served on the property and animals were seized over a five day period. The County of Dawson has filed a separate action seeking court orders regarding the disposition and cost of care for the various animals and livestock seized.