ST. CHARLES – The former owner of a now-defunct traveling petting zoo pleaded not guilty Tuesday to misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty and neglect. She asked for a jury trial.
Stacy Fiebelkorn, 36, of Elgin, was charged March 5, 2014, after 94 animals in her Mini Zoo Crew were found sick and starving, including a dozen dead. Most were found on a farm in Hampshire. A mare and fetus were found dead on a farm near Maple Park.
Fielbekorn's attorney said late last year that she had hoped for an offer of a plea agreement from the Kane County State's Attorney, but said none was offered. Assistant Kane County State's Attorney Joe Cullen said Tuesday the office does not comment about plea negotiations.
Fiebelkorn's case will be transferred to the Kane County Judicial Center, 37W777 Route 38, St. Charles Township. Her next court appearance is scheduled for March 19. She will be assigned a judge, and a date will be set for the jury trial.
Fiebelkorn's traveling zoo animals included horses, mini-horses, ponies, donkeys, alpacas, llamas, goats, chickens and rabbits. Though she initially fought to get her animals returned, Fiebelkorn eventually agreed to give them up to Kane County Animal Control.
Volunteers took over the animals’ feeding and care while they were kept at various farms during their recovery. Some died or had to be euthanized because of their condition. Eventually, all survivors were adopted out to new homes.