Caregiver sentenced in Vergas horses case

Published 11:07am Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The caregiver for six horses found dead in February was sentenced in Otter Tail County District Court Monday.

William Vance Tompkins, 19, of Owasso, Okla., was sentenced to 365 days in jail, with 284 days to be stayed for one year, for one gross misdemeanor count of mistreating animals. He pleaded guilty Monday. In exchange for the plea, three misdemeanor counts and one felony count of mistreating animals were dismissed. As part of his sentence, Tompkins is not to own or have unsupervised contact with animals.

In court Monday, Tompkins said the horses “were left in my care” while his mother and stepfather were in Montana. He said a tractor wasn’t working, and he didn’t try to fix it because he didn’t know anything about how to fix it. As a result, the horses weren’t fed.

“Some of them lost weight, and some of them passed away,” Tompkins said.

The reported owners of the horses, Tompkins’ mother, Penny Lynn Fick, 38, and Bill Karl Fick, 48, both of Vergas, face one felony count, one gross misdemeanor count and 19 misdemeanor counts of mistreating animals. Bill Fick pleaded not guilty to all charges Monday. Penny Fick pleaded not guilty to all charges July 16.

According to the criminal complaints, Bill and Penny Fick were the owners of six horses that were found dead on the property at 31327 430th St. in rural Vergas when authorities executed a search warrant Feb. 26.

Eleven live horses were found, ranging in age from less than a year old to 18 years old.

They were “dangerously thin” and weak due to malnutrition and dehydration, according to the report.

No food source was allegedly available and a 100-gallon water tank was frozen next to a non-functional heater.

Neighbors told authorities the animals hadn’t been cared for since the Ficks left in December 2012, the report says. The property owner is Bill Fick’s mother.

Penny Fick’s next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 3. Bill Fick’s next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 17.

  • mnsotan

    So why didnt the neighbors call the sheriff ?

  • drbellows

    Curious. Considering the millions of human beings that have been legally murdered thanks to Roe v Wade, why should I care even the slightest about a bunch of stupid horses? Turn them into glue and shut up about it already!

  • drbellows

    So you confess you care more about horses than people. Folks like YOU are what is wrong with this country. Too bad your mommy didn’t “Roe” you!

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