Petting zoo owner charged with animal cruelty

HAMPSHIRE TOWNSHIP – Two more dead animals have been found at a farm in Hampshire Township where 94 petting zoo animals were impounded last week.

Kane County Animal Control Administrator Rob Sauceda said two baby goats were found dead March 6, under a 12-inch mat of straw and fecal matter. That brings the total to 11 animals and a fetus found dead in the incident.

“There were 14 mini-goats in an 8-by-10 (foot) stall that had not been cleaned out in months,” Sauceda said. “There was 12 inches of fecal matter matted in with the straw, and we are in the process of removing all of that. We found the dead baby goats yesterday, underneath the straw and trampled on by other goats in the small pen.”

On March 5, Kane County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested Elgin resident Stacy Fiebelkorn, 34. She was charged with one count of a violation of an owner’s duty to provide adequate food, shelter and water and vet care to prevent suffering, and one count of cruelty to animals, both misdemeanors.

Fiebelkorn operated The Mini Zoo Crew petting zoo. A dead horse and its fetus were found on a property on Beith Road near Maple Park, and when Kane County Animal Control staff served a search warrant on a farm at 44W222 Route 20 in Hampshire Township they found 94 animals that were ill and in need of food and water, and a dead donkey, a goat, two mini-horses and four chickens.

Kane Count Sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Pat Gengler said Fiebelkorn was being evicted from the Beith Road property and had moved most of the animals to the Route 20 property.

“The water bowl for the chickens, ducks and a turkey was one big frozen chunk of ice,” Gengler said.

The dead animals will be sent to the University of Illinois for a necropsy to determine their cause of death, Gengler said.

Fiebelkorn posted $150 bail on $1,500 bond for the two misdemeanors. Court date information was not available. Fiebelkorn did not return a voicemail message left at her business phone number.

Kane County Animal Control Administrator Rob Sauceda said they received permission from the state to impound the animals and begin to provide food, water and veterinary care. The property’s owner is allowing the animals to remain onsite.

“I’ve been out here for three days, and I broke down. ... it’s not fair,” Sauceda said of the animals’ condition. “I’m super proud of my staff. They’re here every night and early in the morning. I’m glad we are able to step in and impound them and all the livestock.”

The mare appeared to have had inadequate veterinary care and moldy hay, he said. The barn on the Route 20 property is not adequate to shelter, either, he said.

“There is no room in this barn for any of these animals,” Sauceda said.

But Sauceda said his department stepped up with deliveries of fresh mold-free hay, fresh food for the rabbits and chickens, and heated water bowls for all. Sauceda said he is reaching out to rescue organizations to take the larger animals, such as the horses and the alpacas. He also is hoping people will step up and offer to adopt some of the other ones, as well as make donations toward their current care.

“My resources are limited, but I have money in a fund for something like this,” Sauceda said. “If you want to make donations, send it to animal control, in care of ‘Rescue of the Zoo.’ I am hoping people will want to reach out to help us.”

Donations may be sent to Kane County Animal Control, 4060 Keslinger Road, Geneva IL, 60134.

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