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Petting zoo animals recovering

Published: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 7:40 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 1:59 p.m. CDT

GENEVA – The 93 animals moved last week from an impounded petting zoo are doing well, Kane County Animal Control Administrator Rob Sauceda told a county committee Tuesday. "They're starting to bounce back," he said, describing the animals as happy and alert. "It's been great to see."

The animals – whose population soon will increase because of multiple pregnancies – were taken March 11 from a farm in rural Hampshire Township after the petting zoo's owner, Stacy Fiebelkorn of Elgin, was charged with two misdemeanors: cruelty to animals and violation of an owner’s duty to provide adequate food, shelter and water and vet care to prevent suffering.

In total, 11 animals and a horse fetus were found dead, and nearly 100 were in need of food and water. The horse and fetus were found on a farm near Maple Park, and the rest were found at the Hampshire Township location, officials have said.

Public Health Committee Chairman Monica Silva, D-Aurora, commended Sauceda for his work in this "unprecedented" situation.

"Mr. Sauceda, you have done a fabulous job from what I've heard," she said.

Barb Jeffers, Kane County Health Department executive director, credited Sauceda for the successful move.

"You would have thought the planning was going on for months," she said. "The execution was him entirely."

In addition to his staff, Sauceda thanked many others who have helped, including various county departments, veterinarians, farms and the 81 volunteers who assisted in moving the animals. Others have donated various supplies and money, he said.

Animal Control even has people ready to adopt the animals, he said.

Board member T.R. Smith, R-Maple Park, said he liked that Animal Control set the precedent that it will help all animals and not just cats and dogs, like it had in the past.

This has "really shown the public what we can do," Smith said.

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