Monday, December 12, 2011

Knowing when to step in

Towns have several factors to consider when dealing with families living in dilapidated conditions, and pets only complicate the situation

By George Houde

It's hard to pinpoint exactly when things went from bad to worse for Sharon and Terry Jones.
But three years after her husband lost his job, Sharon Jones admitted the problems were piling up. The plumbing and the hot water heater stopped working in the modest Streamwood home the couple shared with their disabled adult daughter. The sewer would back up into the bathtub, leaving the family to use bedpans instead of toilets. They took sponge baths by heating water on the stove.
Then last summer the village intervened, citing the Joneses for living in unsanitary conditions, among other alleged violations. The home was declared unfit for occupancy by humans — not to mention the pugs kept by the family — which, by the Joneses' count, once numbered at least 28 and, one village official said, weren't housebroken.
But even with the prospect of the village-imposed fines adding up, the family refused to give up the dozen or so pugs that remained after a rescue group got involved and removed a large number of dogs..."  More

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