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updated: 8/26/2011 4:54 PM

Judge pushes Vernon Hills 'cat house' case forward

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A Vernon Hills woman who had been ordered to abate animal odors emanating from her home will have to tell a judge why she should not be held in contempt of court.

Lake County Judge Luis A. Berrones on Friday issued a "rule to show cause" as requested by the village, which contends Lisa Sliwa has failed to correct the situation.

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The village also was given permission to get an appraisal of the property and have three different remediation companies give estimates of what it would take to bring the home back to a habitable state.

Attorneys for the village and Sliwa met with Berrones in his chambers to discuss a possible resolution of the situation. But none was forthcoming and she was given 28 days to respond. A status hearing was set for Sept 29.

She did not attend the proceeding and her attorney, John W. Quinn of Grayslake, declined to comment.

Sliwa's single-family home on Brook Hill Lane in the Stone Fence Farm subdivision was declared unsafe for human occupancy by the village on Aug. 12.

Inspectors wearing protective clothing and respirators noted 18 violations when they examined the home.

According to the village's petition to the court a "noxious" odor was still present outside the home and the interior was "virtually coated with animal urine and feces." The odor adversely affects the neighborhood, the village claims in court documents.

Standing water in the basement, mold and an electric system in disrepair were other listed hazards. No animals were found during the inspection, although a very strong presence of animal urine was reported throughout the home and animal waste has saturated the floor sheathing, drywall, framing and heating/air conditioning duct system, according to the inspection report.

The village, in response to complaints from neighbors, filed suit against Sliwa last October.

In a bench trial in June, Berrones set a time limit for Sliwa to abate the noxious odors and authorized the village to inspect the property to ensure compliance.

The village also is seeking fines against Sliwa of $1,000 per day dating to June 13, when Berrones issued the order, and asks the court to order "any and all steps be taken " to correct the violations found by inspectors.

Electric service to the home has been turned off and basement windows, which were reported as missing in the inspection report, boarded up. The home remains tagged as unsafe for human occupancy.

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