Petting zoo owner ordered to post $30K for animals’ care

ST. CHARLES – A petting zoo owner charged with animal cruelty and neglect must post $30,000 in cash by April 4 for the continuing care of impounded animals or risk the forfeiture of all of them, a judge ruled Thursday.

In court papers filed late last week, Animal Control officials asked for $45,000 for expenses they incurred since impounding 94 sick and starving animals from a petting zoo kept at a farm in Hampshire Township earlier this month. 

The filing included an estimate for future expenses of 31 animals the owner had not given up. The animals’ owner, Stacy Fiebelkorn, sought to pay $9,000. 

In her ruling, Kane County Associate Judge Elizabeth Flood said she would approve the cost of veterinary care every other day for the impounded animals, but did not see a basis for why a vet was needed every day.

Flood also made it clear her ruling last week regarding forfeiture of the petting zoo animals did not mean the animals were to be given back to Fiebelkorn. Instead, Flood said the animals would continue to be under the care of Animal Control, and the animals’ future placement would be “at the expertise ... [and] discretion of Animal Control.”

“I have not ordered the return of the animals to Stacy Fiebelkorn,” Flood said. 

In an earlier decision last week, Flood denied a request by Kane County Animal Control to forfeit all the animals. Fiebelkorn agreed to give up all the rabbits, poultry and most of the goats.

Flood had ordered alpacas and llamas to be given up, but denied the request for the rest to be forfeited. Fiebelkorn is fighting to keep ownership of two goats and the remaining horses and donkeys.

The issue of posting additional cash for the animals’ continuing care will come up again April 7 at Kane County Branch Court. 

The animal cruelty and violating an owner’s duty to animals, both misdemeanor charges against Fiebelkorn, are scheduled to be heard April 17.