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updated: 7/2/2014 7:05 PM

Horse owner says Kane Co. animal control head lied in neglect case

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  • Stacy Fiebelkorn

      Stacy Fiebelkorn

  • The owner of these horses, photographed in March, was accused of neglecting them. Now her attorney says the Kane County animal control director at the time lied about one of her horses being dead.

      The owner of these horses, photographed in March, was accused of neglecting them. Now her attorney says the Kane County animal control director at the time lied about one of her horses being dead.
    Daily Herald file photo

 
 

Kane County's controversial former animal control director is accused of falsely declaring a horse dead while its owner was under investigation for abusing animals at farms in Hampshire and Maple Park, according to court documents.

The information about Robert Sauceda came to light in a June 26 reply from Stacy Fiebelkorn's attorney, Jamie Wombacher, as to why she should be able to obtain results of any investigations of Sauceda by the Kane County state's attorney and the county's human resources and health departments.

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She received copies last week of sheriff's reports, dated May 5 and 6, from prosecutors.

The reports, Wombacher wrote, indicated that Sauceda reported the horse died March 17, but that he knew it was alive. At the time, Fiebelkorn was fighting the seizure of her animals as well as the county's efforts to have her pay for their care while they were in the county's custody.

"According to the (May 5) report, Sauceda was aware that the horse was recovering, and knew that it would be hidden from public record so the 'abusive owner' would not get the horse returned to her,'" the motion stated.

The May 6 report stated that Sauceda showed a cellphone video of the horse, "alive and well," to an animal control employee, and that one of the veterinarians who treated some of the animals was involved in the matter, according to Wombacher's motion.

Fiebelkorn, of Elgin, is charged with animal neglect and cruelty of animals on farms in Maple Park and Hampshire. Fiebelkorn was in court Wednesday on the case.

Wombacher requested subpoenas for the Kane County health and human resources departments and the Kane County state's attorney's office on May 12 seeking "all reports, communications or other documents generated as a result of investigations" into Sauceda.

Sauceda was placed on administrative leave May 1, and resigned May 7. The state's attorney's office was investigating unspecified personnel matters in animal control.

He could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Wombacher argued in her motion that the documents might reveal information the defense could use to impeach Sauceda's credibility.

Prosecutors initially opposed Wombacher's request.

No charges have been brought against the veterinarian or Sauceda.

Fiebelkorn was charged March 3. Twelve dead animals were found in Maple Park and Hampshire, according to court records. Animal control removed dozens of live horses, goats, donkeys, chickens, ducks, turkeys, rabbits, llamas and alpacas from a farm in Hampshire where she rented barn and outdoor space. She's charged with not providing adequate shelter, food, water and veterinary care.

Fiebelkorn was the owner of the Mini Zoo Petting Crew, a traveling petting zoo.

Her next court date is 1 p.m. Aug. 13.

The sheriff's reports were not available Wednesday, as the sheriff's department told the Daily Herald it is determining whether it can release them. In April, Kane County Circuit Court Associate Judge Elizabeth Flood barred sheriff and animal control employees, including Sauceda, from discussing much about the Fiebelkorn case outside of the courtroom. The order stands until Fiebelkorn decides whether she wants a bench or jury trial.

Sauceda was hired as a billing manager in a position Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen created, after Lauzen failed to win approval to hire Sauceda as animal control director. Lauzen was accused of cronyism, because he and Sauceda ran on the "Reform Kane" ticket for county offices in 2012. In 2013, Sauceda was named interim animal control director, and won praise for straightening out the department's finances, including collecting more revenue.

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