Animals

Trustees hear concerns about tortoise in a village pet shop – Nadig Newspapers

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by JASON MEREL

The Lincolnwood Village Board of Trustees heard many concerns from residents and activists about the welfare of a turtle kept at a local pet store and heard calls for a ban on the sale of animals within the village.

During the public comments section of the meeting, several residents and members of the Chicago Alliance for Animals animal activity group expressed concerns about the welfare of a 40-year-old sulcata tortoise named “Spur” at Animal Store, 4364 W. Touhy Ave.

“At least seven times so far, we’ve never seen a source of water in a can,” said Jodi Whitaker, CAA founder and CEO. “We also did not observe a heat lamp or any kind of enrichment.”

The Maryland Zoo’s official website says that sulquite turtles get most of the water they need from the plants they eat, although a shallow dish of water should be provided. The San Diego Zoo’s website says that sulcata tortoises may go days or weeks without eating or drinking. Both websites said that turtles typically live in conditions above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ken Berman, the owner of the animal store, said he didn’t know the group spoke at the meeting, but they held protests outside the store over the tortoise. He said the group had a view with the heat lamp, but that’s because he’s waiting for a taillight to arrive that he ordered next week. He noted that the shop has a temperature of 75 to 80 degrees and that the Spur has a UVB light on top of its enclosure.

“People want me to let her go but her shell is damaged and she needs veterinary care so she is not doing well in a shelter,” he said.

In July of 2011, the 70-pound turtle was stolen during an overnight store burglary, and was spotted in a nearby resident’s yard the next day, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Deerfield Village’s former trustee and animal activist, Jerry Keane, said the sale of animals in the village violates an existing village law that prohibits keeping “naturally wild animals” within the village. He added that this specific case with the tortoise violates another provision in the law regulating the humane treatment of animals, which states that animals must be fed healthy food and that clean water must be provided to animals at all times.

Berman said Speer’s container has hay for grazing, which changes throughout the week.

“If people want to bring a piece of potato or corn, that’s their protein,” he said. “Sometimes you don’t drink for days, sometimes you drink for minutes at a time.”

A Lincolnwood resident also called for a ban on animal sales in the village at the meeting

“As a pediatrician, I work to protect and enrich children’s health,” she said. “Stores like an animal store have a lot of animals that don’t behave predictably in cages and could be a danger to the child, if the child has access to the cages unattended.”

The mayor, Jesal Patel, said the village had also received several emails about the issue and would look into the matter. Berman said the village didn’t come close to him.

Also at the meeting, the trustees approved the 2021 estate tax levy of $60,27.082, which was set at a 1.4 percent increase over the 2020 tax, due to the village’s permanent fiscal policy. For reference, the tax levy for 2019 has been capped with an increase of 1.9 percent, and the tax for 2020 has been capped at 2.3 percent.

Village policy anchors the tax increase in the CPI, and although the village finance committee recommended that the village council approve the 2021 tax, it also recommended trustees reassess the policy before discussions of the 2023 budget and the 2022 tax levy, according to Lincolnwood Director of Finance Dennis. Joseph.

Joseph explained that the village’s fiscal policy limits the increase in collection according to the property tax extension law, which depends on the consumer price index.

An overall increase of 1.4 percent over the $5,943,868 collected in 2020 means the village was able to allocate an additional $83,214 for the 2021 tax.

The tax is levied on village property to fund private corporate, park and recreation budgets as well as police pension contributions.

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