Judge to rule today on petting zoo care funds
ST. CHARLES – A Kane County associate judge plans today to issue a ruling on a $43,000-plus security fund petition for the care and feeding of animals seized from a petting zoo.
After more than two hours of testimony and rebuttals from the defense and Kane County prosecutors, Associate Judge Elizabeth Flood on Wednesday said she needed more time to make her decision. Flood noted that she received the defendant's response to the petition for security shortly before 1 p.m. Wednesday, the time the hearing on the issue was scheduled to begin at the Kane County Branch Court.
"Because of the amount of information presented ... I do want to look at this overnight," Flood said.
Kane County Animal Control and prosecutors are seeking a $43,327.01 security fund to be posted for the care and feeding of animals impounded from The Mini Crew Zoo in Hampshire Township. Zoo owner Stacy Fiebelkorn of Elgin faces misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty and violating an owner's duty to provide food and care.
Fiebelkorn was in court Wednesday, sitting next to her attorney, Jamie Wombacher. In response to the petition, Wombacher proposed funding totaling $9,000, including veterinary costs, boarding for the animals and fees.
Prosecutors on Wednesday revised their security fund request down from $45,000 after removing some costs related to goats. Flood ruled toward the beginning of the hearing that goats were excluded from the petition because they did not fit under the statutory definition of a companion animal, or pet.
"I think [the definition] does somewhat constrain the court," Flood said.
Wombacher and prosecutors each questioned Robert Sauceda, Kane County interim animal control administrator, about the care the animals under the petition were receiving at three different sites.
Multiple sites were used because there was not enough room at any one place to house all the animals, Sauceda said.
The next hearing on the petition is scheduled for 1 p.m. today at the Kane County Branch Court.