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Forum News Service, Published August 29 2013

Man gets jail time for neglect of horses at Vergas farmstead

FERGUS FALLS, Minn. - The caregiver for six horses that were found dead, and 11 more neglected, at a farmstead near Vergas last winter has been sentenced to one year in jail.

William Vance Tompkins, 19, of Owasso, Okla., had been entrusted with the horses’ care by his mother, Penny Fick, and her husband, Bill Fick, of rural Vergas, while they temporarily resided in Montana.

The Ficks still face charges in the case.

Tompkins was sentenced last week in Otter Tail County District Court to 365 days in jail, with 284 days stayed for one year, for one gross misdemeanor count of mistreating animals. In exchange for his guilty plea, a felony count of mistreating animals was dismissed, along with three misdemeanor counts.

He was also placed on unsupervised probation for one year, and may not have any unsupervised contact with animals.

Bill and Penny Fick are both charged with mistreatment of animals. Tompkins is willing to cooperate in their prosecution, according to court records.

Court hearings are scheduled Oct. 3 for Penny Fick and Oct. 17 for Bill Fick.