Elgin woman forfeits animals in neglect, cruelty case
The Elgin woman accused of animal cruelty and neglect has forfeited her 30 horses and donkeys because she did not post a required $30,000 to pay for their care while she awaits trial.
Kane County Chief Judge Judith Brawka Monday accepted a report from Kane County prosecutors that Stacy Fiebelkorn had not posted the money with the circuit court clerk by 4:30 p.m. Friday. Under the Illinois Humane Care for Animals Act, by failing to do so she automatically forfeited the animals.
Fiebelkorn had been ordered to post the money March 27 by Associate Judge Elizabeth Flood. Brawka was a substitute Monday for Flood.
The fate of two goats is to be determined at a hearing at 1 p.m. April 14, according to a spokesman for the Kane County state's attorney's office.
Fiebelkorn was charged March 5 with misdemeanor cruelty to animals and neglect.
Kane County Animal Control authorities seized more than 90 animals from her March 4 and 5. They included ducks, chickens, turkeys, horses, donkeys, rabbits, goats, donkeys, llamas and alpacas. On March 19 Fiebelkorn voluntarily gave up all of the poultry and rabbits, most of the goats, a llama and an alpaca. Flood later ordered her to give up the other llama and alpaca.
Animal Control began investigating Fiebelkorn after receiving a report she had a dead horse and dead horse fetus on property she used in Maple Park. They then investigated a property she rented in Hampshire and found more dead horses, goats, donkeys and chickens, plus more than 90 living animals. Fiebelkorn had operated the Mini Zoo Crew traveling petting zoo.
Veterinarians testified at a forfeiture hearing that many of the animals were overly thin, with some close to starving to death. One horse later was euthanized because it did not have the energy to stand or eat, and an alpaca and a horse may be stunted due to lack of food, according to a veterinarian and to others caring for the animals.
With the forfeiture, the horses can now be put up for adoption.
Also, on Tuesday the Kane County Board will recognize volunteers and others who helped move the animals March 11 off the Hampshire farm. The owner of the farm had initially agreed to let the animals stay there while the case was prosecuted but changed his mind March 10 and said they had to be moved the next day, according to Animal Control Director Robert Sauceda. More than 90 people showed up to move the animals, including lending their horse trailers. Others have donated food, supplies and services, and one veterinarian has discounted her fees to treat the animals.
The county had estimated the cost of care during the first 30 days would be $42,948.
Besides the April 14 hearing, there is a hearing April 17 on whether the judge should bar prosecutors, investigators and witnesses from speaking about the case outside of court proceedings. Fiebelkorn's attorney has contended that statements by the Kane County sheriff's spokesman and Sauceda have impaired Fiebelkorn's ability to have an impartial trial.