ST. CHARLES – A petting zoo owner charged with animal cruelty and neglect last month agreed Monday to give up the last two remaining goats of 94 starved and sick animals impounded by Kane County Animal Control.
At a hearing, Kane County Assistant State's Attorney Danielle Curtiss said they would withdraw a motion to have Elgin resident Stacy Fiebelkorn post $3,555 for the cost of 30 days of care for the two remaining goats, since she had agreed to relinquish them.
All the animals that once were part of Fiebelkorn's Mini Zoo Crew, based in Hampshire, are now removed from her ownership. These include chickens, ducks, geese, rabbits, goats, horses, ponies, donkeys, alpacas and llamas, officials said.
Fiebelkorn had given up the rabbits, poultry and all but two goats, and she initially fought to keep all the horses, donkeys, goats, alpacas and llamas. After she failed to post $30,000 cash to pay for their continuing medical care, food and shelter, however, all but the two goats were forfeited – and now those, too, officially are no longer hers.
Nearly all of the animals have been adopted out "to their forever homes" said Robert Sauceda, Kane County's animal control administrator. That includes the two new owners of the last two goats Fiebelkorn just gave up.
"We have a goat and a billy goat and two horses left, but we've got applications for them," Sauceda said. "We're moving them along, putting them up on Facebook to get them to their forever homes, soon."
Sauceda said nearly all were adopted in Kane County, with a few going to DeKalb County. The new owners have taken over the cost of continuing care for the impounded animals that still are recovering from illness, malnutrition and starvation.
Animal control has contracts with the animals' new owners about what they need for their continuing care, he said. Nicole Wessel, a veterinarian who was caring for many of the animals, will give the new owners guidelines on what they need to do, Sauceda said.
"We are excited," Sauceda said. "It's been a roller coaster, [but] we see the light at end of the tunnel."
Also Monday, Kane County Associate Judge Elizabeth Flood approved a request by the Kane County Chronicle to allow cameras in the courtroom for a hearing scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday at the branch court, 540 South Randall Road, St. Charles.
That hearing will center on a request by her attorney, Jamie Wombacher, to have the judge order county officials not to talk about the case outside of the courtroom, as her client still faces misdemeanor criminal charges. Wombacher argued that those comments would jeopardize Fiebelkorn's right to a fair trial.
Kane County Assistant State's Attorney Erin Gaeke filed papers in response that such a restriction would violate constitutional free speech rights, and that their comments "are factual and concern the victim animals and are all permitted by the rules regarding trial publicity."