By Lenore T. Adkins | Daily Herald Staff
Troy Evert initially was adamant about moving out of Lake in the Hills after officials there said he couldn’t keep his pet lemur.
But then the reality of the economy and pending fatherhood set in.
Between paying a mortgage on a McCollum Lake house that didn’t sell and rent on his current Lake in the Hills house, Evert now says moving is not an option.
“It was something that I looked into but I just started a lease that I can’t get out of,” said Evert, who moved to Lake in the Hills in May. “The way the economy is, I really can’t afford it. Not with three kids and a fourth on the way.”
That means he just might have to find a new home for Ringo, the 2-foot tall, ring-tailed primate that weighs five pounds and has been part the Evert household for four years.
By a 4-3 vote last month, trustees decided not to make an exception for Ringo in an ordinance that bans “any naturally wild animal, except birds or fish, whether or not bred for domestic purposes.”
“I was in favor of reviewing it and seeing if there was something we could do to help Troy,” said Trustee Bob Huckins, one of the three “yes” votes. “But if that lemur ever bit or harmed the residents, it becomes an issue the village doesn’t want to take a risk on.”
Trustee Steve Harlfinger supported revising the ordinance to only allow animals sold in pet stores, like iguanas, chinchillas and bearded dragons.
But he was not willing to go out on a limb for lemurs.
“There’s still that chance that because of its nature in general that it could … have a bad day,” Harlfinger said.
The sanction doesn’t apply to animals in zoological parks, exhibitions, educational institutions or veterinary hospitals.
Evert, 31, considered applying for a exhibitor’s license, but can’t because he’s not making any money off Ringo.
Unless an attorney finds a loophole that lets Ringo say in Lake in the Hills, Evert has until late September to find a new home for the 6-year-old critter, whose ancestors hail from Madagascar and are related to apes and monkeys.
Evert has reached out to George Kililis, the same attorney representing a Lakemoor woman fined for refusing to remove front-yard flower planters made out of two toilets and a sink.
Kililis declined to comment on their discussions because the two haven’t reached agreement on whether he’ll represent Evert.
If the legal avenue hits a roadblock, Evert says he would either return Ringo to his friend in Spring Grove who rescued him from an unfit home, or send him to Corbin’s Exotic Pets in Marengo.
But Evert can’t bear the thought of parting with Ringo.
“He’s a family member,” Evert said. “He’s like a kid.”