Kane County Associate Judge Elizabeth Flood on Thursday declined a prosecutor's request to have a woman facing charges of animal cruelty and neglect immediately put up $36,786 to pay for the county's cost of caring for the animals.
Stacy Fiebelkorn's attorney, Jamie Wombacher, argued she had just received a 78-page police report on the case Tuesday and other materials Thursday and was not ready to respond to the request. Also, Fiebelkorn will be in court next week and the matter could be addressed then, Wombacher said.
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The $36,786 is an estimated cost for 30 days worth of staff time and veterinary care, food and other supplies, according to Robert Sauceda, Kane County's animal control director. The county seized Fiebelkorn's animals March 4 from a Hampshire farm.
Fiebelkorn is next due in court at 1 p.m. Wednesday.
Under state law, Fiebelkorn, who declined to comment after Thursday's hearing, could be held responsible for any expenses the county incurs for the animals, and a lien could be placed on the animals.
If Fiebelkorn surrenders the animals, she could still be held responsible for the county's costs up to that date.
If the county gets custody of the animals, it will offer them for adoption, Sauceda said. "My goals is just to make sure they get a good home," he said.
Update on animals
In total, 19 animals, including one horse fetus, were found dead on properties in Maple Park and Hampshire that Fiebelkorn used, according to an affidavit from Sauceda. He reported that county workers were unable to remove one of the dead miniature horses at first because its body was stuck in four inches of ice. A necropsy showed that horse starved to death, Sauceda said after the court hearing.
He thinks somebody tried to cover up two dead goats found in a 12-inch pile of feces, urine and straw in a goat pen. "No attempt by the owners was made to remove the dead animals from the pens of the other animals," the affidavit states.
After an inventory was taken, a miniature paint stallion named Hercules was euthanized. Hercules had the lowest body condition score, 2 of 9 points, indicating he was very thin. He also had an infection where teeth had grown into a sinus, was weak and refusing to eat.
The affidavit was part of the application for a March 3 search warrant. It lists 93 animals and the conditions of each except the poultry. Almost all the goats were listed as being overly thin, as were two llamas and two alpacas. A horse and a rabbit had untreated abscesses, one goat was suspected of having an untreated hernia, and another had a rib injury.
One horse had "major injuries from other horses attacking it over food issues," according to the affidavit.
The affidavit also gives more details about 24 tickets Fiebelkorn received in 2008 for failure of an owner to provide adequate care and failure to give vaccinations. On July 1, 2008, a property where she was keeping animals was found to have no food for them, and dirty water. The next day, animal control issued an abandonment notice stating that a burro, a pig, 10 goats and two calves had been left abandoned; on July 8, only one bucket of water was found on the property and it had feces in it. There was still no food.
Court records indicate that the 2008 charges, all ordinance violations, were stricken with leave to reinstate.
In April 2011, according to the affidavit, dead sheep were found on a property she used. They died from complications due to lice infestation.
On Feb. 18, animal control employees found four dogs without food or water on the Hampshire property, and feces covered the floor. Animal control issued a notice of violation to vaccinate and register the dogs with the county, according to the affidavit.
On March 3, Fiebelkorn was ticketed for not providing proper care and for not registering animals with the county. The county did not impound the dogs, and Sauceda said he believes they are being kept somewhere in Elgin and that Elgin community service officers are looking for them.
On Feb. 24, a dead horse and a dead horse fetus were found on a property in Maple Park. Fiebelkorn was given a warning for animal welfare. No food or water was found on the property, but a necropsy of the horse found food in its stomach. Animal control workers interviewed Fiebelkorn then and learned of the Hampshire site. Sauceda then visited that farm and gave her a 24-hour notice to provide animals with water, because all the water on the site was frozen. He reported there was no food or water for the rabbits and fowl.
On Feb. 28, Fiebelkorn surrendered two rabbits to animal control. According to Sauceda, she said she had too many on the site.