Beef Processor Gets Probation in Calf Cruelty Case

DIMMITT, Texas (AP) - A Texas Panhandle beef processor has been
placed on a year's probation after a judge granted deferred
adjudication of the animal cruelty case against him and five
workers at his plant.

Deferred adjudication means the case against Kirt Espenson will
be dismissed if he completes the probationary period and pays the
$4,000 fine assessed him Wednesday. Castro County District Attorney
James Horton says the five workers indicted with Espenson on felony
counts of cruelty to livestock remain at large. Horton says he
suspects they have sought sanctuary in Mexico.

A call to Espenson went unanswered Wednesday evening.

The case arose last spring from a video made by an animal
welfare group. It showed pickaxes and hammers being used to
bludgeon calves to death at Espenson's E6 Cattle Co. in Hart.

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