CAMPTON TOWNSHIP – The Mini Zoo Crew in Hampshire Township kept followers in touch with happenings posted on its Facebook page, from a Family Fun Night at a preschool to detailing rescue efforts in Iowa to save mistreated horses and ponies.
The Facebook page, www.facebook.com/TheMiniZooCrew, and the business, which police confirmed is run by Stacy Fiebelkorn of Elgin, also details the care of its animals in a January posting: “All the animals have been tucked in the barn trying to stay warm but are ready to get back out and play in the snow.”
But now Fiebelkorn, 34, of the 1000 block of Borden Drive in Elgin, has been charged with cruel treatment of animals, in which nine were found dead – including a horse and its fetus – and 87 others were found in need of food and water, police said.
Kane County sheriff’s deputies arrested Fiebelkorn on Wednesday. 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’s arrest stems from a report of dead animals on two farms in rural Kane County, one on Beith Road in Campton Township near Maple Park where the dead mare and its fetus were found, police said.
Kane County Animal Control staff served a search warrant on a farm at 44W222 Route 20, in Hampshire Township, where Fiebelkorn kept additional animals. Animal control staff found more dead and severely ill animals and lack of adequate food, police said, adding that all the water designated for the animals was frozen.
In addition to the dead horse and fetus near Maple Park, officials said they found other dead animals – a donkey, a goat, two mini-horses and four chickens – at the Route 20 property.
Kane County 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. “There are so many animals – goats, rabbits, donkeys, alpacas, mini-horses.”
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 voice mail 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 on site.
Sauceda said Fiebekorn is not registered with the state as a rescue organization.
“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 and its fetus appears to have died from “red sacking” where the placenta prematurely separates from the uterus, Sauceda said, most likely caused by inadequate veterinary care and moldy hay.
“The placenta came out first,” Sauceda said. “Then the baby falls out, and the mother dies of shock. I don’t think it was full term, but if you feed horses bad food, it will cause the baby to come out early.”
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, after vets make sure they don’t have worms or diseases.
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.