by JASON MEREL
At its Dec. 7 meeting, the Lincolnwood Village Board heard several concerns from residents and activists about the welfare of a turtle kept at a local pet store and heard calls for a ban sale of animals in the village.
During the meeting’s public comment section, several residents and members of the animal activism group Chicago Alliance for Animals expressed concern about the well-being of a 40-year-old sulcata tortoise named “Spur” at the Animal Store, 4364 W. Touhy Ave.
“At least seven times now we haven’t seen any water sources in his enclosure,” said CAA founder and executive director Jodie Wiederkehr. “We also didn’t notice any heat lamp or any kind of enrichment.”
The official Maryland Zoo website states that sulcata tortoises get most of the water they need from the plants they eat, although a shallow water dish should be provided. The San Diego Zoo website states that sulcata tortoises can go days or weeks without eating or drinking. Both websites said turtles typically live in conditions above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Animal Store owner Ken Bearmann said he was unaware the group spoke at the meeting, but they staged protests outside the store over the turtle. He said the band was right with the heat lamp, but that’s because he’s expecting a sold-out fixture to arrive next week. He pointed out that the store has an ambient temperature of around 75 to 80 degrees and that Spur has a UVB light above its enclosure.
“People want me to let her go, but her shell has been damaged and she needs veterinary care so she’s not doing well in a shelter,” he said.
In July 2011, the 70-pound turtle was stolen in an apparent overnight store robbery and spotted in a nearby resident’s yard the next day, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Former Deerfield Village Administrator and animal activist Jerry Kayne said animal sales in the village violate existing village ordinances prohibiting the keeping of “naturally wild animals” in the village. He added that this specific case with the turtle violates another provision of the code regulating the humane treatment of animals, which states that animals must be fed healthy food and clean water must be provided to animals at all times. moment.
Bearmann said Spur’s paddock contains hay for grazing, which is changed throughout the week.
“So if people want to bring him a piece of sweet potato or corn, that’s his protein,” he said. “Sometimes she doesn’t drink for days, sometimes she drinks for minutes at a time.”
A Lincolnwood resident also called for a ban on the sale of animals in the village at the meeting
“As a pediatrician, I work to protect and enrich children’s health,” she said. “Stores such as the Animal Store have a lot of animals that don’t behave predictably in the cages and can be a danger to a child, should the child access the cages unsupervised.”
Mayor Jesal Patel said the village had also received several emails about it and would look into it. Bearmann said he was not approached by the village.
Also at the meeting, the trustees approved the 2021 property tax levy of $6,027,082, which was capped at a 1.4% increase over the 2020 levy, due to ongoing financial policy. from the village. For reference, the 2019 tax levy was capped at a 1.9% increase and the 2020 tax levy was capped at a 2.3% increase.
The village policy sets the tax increase at the consumer price index and although the village finance committee has recommended the village council to approve the 2021 tax, it has also recommended the trustees to reassess the policy ahead of the 2023 budget and 2022 tax discussions, according to Lincolnwood chief financial officer Denise Joseph.
Joseph explained that the financial policy of the village limits the increase in levies in accordance with the law on the limitation of the extension of the property tax which is based on the consumer price index.
An overall increase of 1.4% from the $5,943,868 levied in 2020 allowed the Village to allocate an additional $83,214 for the 2021 levy.
The tax is levied on village properties to fund business, special recreation and parks and recreation budgets as well as police pension contributions.