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Ficks sentenced to jail for horse abuse

Bill Karl Fick, 48, and Penny Lynn Fick, 39, will both be spending time in jail for their part in the abuse and neglect of multiple horses and llamas at their property in rural Vergas last winter.

The Ficks were sentenced in Otter Tail County District Court on Dec. 9, following charges of horse abuse and mistreatment of animals.

A search and seizure at the Fick property was conducted this past February by the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office and the Minnesota Humane Society. Six horses were found dead and another 11 were weak from malnutrition.

Bill Fick was sentenced to 365 days in jail, with 288 of those days stayed for two years, according to court documents He will be on unsupervised probation for two years and will pay a $900 fine.

Penny Fick was sentenced to 365 days in jail, court records show, of which 297 days were stayed for two years. She also will pay a fine of $900.

Lesser sentences were imposed following a plea agreement.

Previously sentenced in the case, back in August, was William Vance Tompkins, 19, of Owasso, Okla. Tompkins had been left in charge of the horses while the Ficks temporarily resided in Montana.

Tompkins was sentenced to 365 days in jail, of which 284 days were stayed for one year. He is on unsupervised probation for one year and is being monitored by the administrative process, court documents state.

Two of the six deceased horses were found in a machine shed, while another was found outside the shed and three more buried in snow.

A 100-gallock stock tank of frozen water was found near the barn. A heater for the tank was present but did not appear to be functional.

The 11 horses that were rescued were of various breeds, color, gender and ages, and were found in various stages of neglect.

Two adult llamas and one juvenile llama also were seized due to inhumane conditions and poor health.

Surviving horses and llamas were taken to the High Tail Horse Ranch and Rescue, a horse rescue organization near Hawley, Minn.

Tom Hintgen

Otter Tail County Correspondent