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Jail time given to horse and llama abusers in rural Vergas

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Bill Karl Fick, 48, and Penny Lynn Fick, 39, are going to spend time in jail for abuse and neglect of a number of horses and llamas on their property over last winter. The Flicks were sentenced on Dec. 9 in Otter Tail County District Court on charges of mistreatment of animals and horse abuse.

In February, an orchestrated search and seizure was carried out by Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with the Minnesota Humane Society. Six horses were discovered beyond help and 11 other horses were weak and suffering from malnutrition.

Bill Fick received 365 days in jail, with 288 of those days stayed for two years. He received unsupervised probation for two more years and paid a fine of $900. Penny Fick received 365 days in jail, with 297 of those days stayed for two years. She will pay a fine of $900.

Following a plea agreement, lesser sentences were set.

In August, William Vance Tompkins, 19, was sentenced in this case. He was in charge of the horses while the Ficks resided for a while in Montana. He received 365 days in jail, with 284 days stayed for one year. He is also on unsupervised probation for one year and the administrative process monitors him.

Altogether, there were six dead horses, two of which were discovered in a machine shed, one was just outside the shed, and three were under snow. There was a frozen water tank but no fresh water. A water heater was not functional. The 11 live horses were in various neglected stages. Three poor-condition llamas were also seized.

The surviving animals were taken in by the High Tail Horse Ranch and Rescue in Hawley, Minn.

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