Thursday, July 23, 2020

Update Regarding Court

So, if you've been following along, you know that I was advised to call Sue at Animal Control and set up a time for her to come see the house and verify that the animals and business-related-stuff was gone.

If you've talked with me over the past few days, you're probably aware that I've had a discussion with everyone on the planet about what exactly falls under "business related stuff."  Because let's be honest, technically, just about everything can be business-related, if the city wants to be turds.  A desk?  Oh, well you use that for business.  Printer paper?  You use that to print out labels... and so on so forth.

So, Wednesday (yesterday), I called up Animal Control.  Sue was out on a call, so I left a message and they said she would call me back.

This morning, I noticed I had a piece of mail (I saw this in my email notification) from the court system.  I found that a little odd, but whatever... I saw this when I wasn't at home, so nothing I could really do, and couldn't really look at it til I got home.

Took two trips to storage today, and on the way back from the second one, got a phone call from Animal Control.  Talked to Sue, and she told me that she can't set up an appointment to come out and verify that the animals and business stuff are gone until closer to the next court date.  Wait... what next court date?  So I asked, my next court date is August 20th, which is a Thursday, and she said she could probably come out like that Monday prior, to see that everything is gone.  She said then, we go to court on that Thursday, and she will tell the judge that yes, everything is gone, and then we will see what the judge says at that point.

Here's the insane part -- prior to this last court date (a week ago), I point-blank asked Sue, if I have the animals gone prior to court, should I call you, so you can come verify they are gone, so on and so forth? And she was like, no, it won't make any difference, you will need to come to court.  Now, she is telling me to do exactly just that!  WTF?  

Oh, but it gets better.  Because, after all, this is Hammond, let's not forget.  I drop off Brad, get home, open the mail from the court.  I see the court date is now moved to August 20th, like Sue said... but get this... the reason for the court date extension to 8/20 is due to "defendant's failure to appear."  Um, EXCUSE ME?  I was THERE!  Sue was the one who told me, no, you don't need to go into the court room, call me and we'll schedule the appointment, we are done here.  If this isn't trying to set me up to look bad, I dunno what it is.  But wtf Hammond???

So, now I have my calendar marked to call Animal Control the week prior to court, to talk to Sue about coming out and all of that, and court is set for 8/20.  *sigh*

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Doctor Visit

So, this was probably from a week or so now, but it was an interesting moment, so I thought I'd share it with you all.

My family doctor is a doctor I was referred to when I was in the ER for something... they said, hey follow up with this guy, and I did.  At that point, his office was in Hammond, on 174th and Columbia.  I wasn't living in Hammond at the time, but this didn't bother me.

Fast forward a couple years (apparently 2012 I found out), and he and the physician he was working with moved into a Highland office, and added a couple more physicians to the roster.  A few years later, the same group of physicians opened a Munster office (which I have now been to, and is very fancy).

Well, long story short, I needed to go see the doctor to get prescriptions filled and all that jazz, so I was there about a week ago, and this doctor knows I have the chinchillas and supply business and all that... so, as is typical, he asked me how that's all going, with covid and all that. 

So I told him I'm moving, he asked to where...  and he reminded me, that he used to be in that office on Columbia.  We talked about how Hammond has really gone downhill in the last 10 years (and I don't disagree), and he said said that when he originally started out (80's / 90's), he couldn't afford an office in Highland / Munster, so he got the Hammond office.  And originally that was fine, but then he said as time passed, he would get patients referred to him from the hospital and people didn't want to follow up in Hammond... so in 2012, he got the Highland office location (and eventually, a couple years later, the Munster location).  He said that since he's moved, he gets more people following up and more returning patients, than when he was in Hammond, and he said he hopes the same goes for me.  We talked about how it's one thing to live in an area that isn't the greatest, as you can ignore the neighbors and keep to yourself, but having a business in an area like that is more difficult... and he said he hopes things pick up when I move.  I hope so too!

I had actually kind of forgotten about his Hammond office (though I pass it on the way into Munster all the time, it's four blocks south of here), but this was an interesting convo and sort of a success story in relation to moving to a different location, so I thought I would share it with you all.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Court Today!

So today, at 2 pm, was court for our 5 animal citations.  We got there early, about 1:30, and checked in.  We were told to sit out in the lobby and the animal control officers (ACOs) would be out to talk to us.

Sue (the ACO handling my case) and another ACO came out and made their rounds and talked to everyone, wanting to see what the status of the cases were.  When Sue came and sat down next to me, she asked if I had all the animals out of the house, and I said yes.  I explained that I only had my two dogs and a hamster left, and I said that everything else had been moved out, since I am moving.  She remembered that I told her that (about myself moving), and she said that she had talked to code enforcement -- apparently in Hammond, you need a business license to run a business out of your house, and she said that had I not been moving, code enforcement would have issued me a ticket / fined me for this, but with me moving, it's sort of a moot point (glad they think so).  I mentioned to her that I have never needed a business license when I have lived anywhere else, and she said well, that's fine, but in Hammond, you do. 

Sidenote (hence why it's in italics) -- I looked this up (about business licenses) on Hammond's City Ordinances, once I got home from court... this would be a mess if I was staying.  The businesses have to have set hours, they have to be open for inspection by the health department, police department, fire department, etc etc.  If the building where the business is located doesn't meet fire codes, safety codes, etc... it may not be granted a license.... and this goes on to say that a pet related business falls under the category of "other businesses," which requires an additional special permit to operate ($50 fee for permit).  It is possible that the location may not be correctly zoned, and if not, sorry, no permit for the animal business.  I could go on, but here's a fun zinger -- 

Each and every operator of a pet shop or cattery must give a bill of sale with each dog.  The bill of sale must reflect the approximate breed, color, sex and age, together with a statement as to special conditions regarding sterilization operations and inoculations, if any, and must further show from whom the animal was procured by the dealer, whether by purchase, by his or her own breeding thereof, or otherwise, giving the name and address of the person from whom he or she procured the animal in his or her possession.  Each bill of sale must be numbered consecutively and made up in triplicate, 1 copy shall be given to the purchaser, 1 copy shall be given to the Police Department, and 1 copy shall be retained by the seller.  On the back of each bill of sale there shall be a diagram showing special markings on the pet sold.

I bet this all would have been my "next steps," if somehow I was trying to stay here.  How about... no?  

Sue and the ACO continued to make their rounds, and we all thought we were ready to go into court, and then Sue came and sat down next to us again.  She asked if we rescheduled the court date to August 20th, would I have all the animals gone by then?  I think there was a misunderstanding somewhere here, because we went over this same thing about 3 times in a row, but eventually I got across that the only animals here at the moment are the two dogs and a hamster.  She made the comment that she would need to come to the house and verify that the other animals were no longer here, and then upon doing that, she would talk to the judge and see if I need to come back to court or not (possibly it could be resolved outside of court?).  She said that if the animals are gone, she thought there might be a possibility that there wouldn't be any fines, though she mentioned that that is up to the judge to make that decision.  So we shall see. 

She said to call her (and I will Monday) and we'll set up a time for her to come out and see the, well, lack of animals, and we will go from there.

So, kind of an uneventful day.  Never actually "went" to court, just talked to Sue in the lobby of the complex...  Until next week when Sue comes to visit!

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Dust? and Other Webstore Listings

Did you notice that some of our listings on our website show up as sold out?   Or did you now just go look?  Yeah, that's cause we're out of dust!

Well, we have a couple pounds here, but we need it.  But no longer do we have enough to sell, and with clearing out the house... dust is not something we want around, cause, well, it's messy! 

So, our listings for dust, as well as the listings that include dust (the care packs and value packs) have been marked as "sold out" for the time being.

Sorry to all who this inconveniences, but we will not have dust available until after we are done moving.

At some point, we may need to close the shop entirely, until we have moved... that is yet to be seen... At this current time though, no dust, and also, once we run out of the currently-made houses (and the few more that are cut up, waiting to be made), that will be all of those that we offer for the moment as well.  Why?  Because if you try to throw a glued wooden house in a sweltering hot storage unit... it will warp.  So, we need to get down to only things that can survive storage, and that's not one of them.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Current Status Update & Ponderings -- part 4

So today we're talking about Step 7, which is sort of the final step before everything (here) opens back up.

Step 7 is getting the house ready for chinchillas.  Except, if you have talked with me lately, you know that's, well, not quite the plan. 

The new place is going to have a barn.

It may not have one, initially, though that would be considerably easier if it did.  If there's no barn, then yes, there will be a basement, and initially, chinchillas will go down there.  However, as I'm not getting any younger and my back and knees aren't getting any more forgiving of carrying 50 pound sacks of feed down (and bags of trash back up) stairs everyday, if there's no barn, there won't be rescues until there is a barn.  Same reasoning -- not hauling in and setting up all those cages downstairs, only to haul them all back up and put them in a barn later.

Obviously, the barn will be insulated, heated, and cooled for the comfort of our furry friends.  It's be great, too, if I even had a generator just in case.  But, as I am not a millionare... maybe one thing at a time, shall we?

Little more about the new place, since I feel like I kind of got away from that, in the post where I talked about the "where" we are moving to --

It's going to be on a minimum of an acre.  Top contenders right now for that are Valparaiso, Crown Point, Portage, Chesterton, and beyond.  Note, these are all a minimum of 45+ minutes from here, going east-ish.  Think rural-ish for the smaller ones, and farm property for the slightly bigger ones.  I have something like 20-ish houses favorited... some of these places look damn neat, and I can't wait to go start seeing houses (and their barns / buildings).... but first, need to keep working on getting this place ready to sell.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Current Status Update & Ponderings -- part 3

So, where are we moving to?  Well, we don't know.

That's the simple answer.

The long answer is this -- there's a lot to be done, prior to figuring that out.  Have I looked at home listings?  Well sure.  Have I found some dream homes?  Sure.  Have those dream homes sold the first day on the market?  Also sure! 

...but again, not quite there yet.

If you follow my (personal) facebook, you may have seen that I now have two storage units, and one is packed about to the brim.  So, I have been moving stuff out.  I somehow managed to snag someone to work for me, amid the pandemic.  A high school student named Brad -- he's been super helpful with moving stuff and packing and all that.  Anyway, we've been moving stuff out, but before I can do any major cleaning of downstairs, the animals need to go.  That's step 1.

Step 2 is removing the rest of the crap, upstairs and downstais that needs to go out to storage.  I'm amazed at how much we've taken already, and furniture we've cleared out... but there's still more!  I even sold some furniture, to avoid taking it with me.

Step 3 is cleaning.  I have dogs, so the walls need to be lightly washed, holes need to be patched from hanging pictures, that sort of thing.  The stove needs to be cleaned, the fridge, all that fun stuff.  The floors need to be washed.

Step 4 and beyond are less in my control.  The house needs to be listed.  Once listed, I get to go see all these houses that I have favorited and see if I find one I like, so that...

Step 5, once the house sells, I hopefully already have one in mind to buy, and can put an offer in on the house.

Step 6, hopefully the offer is accepted, and I'm able to close on that house within the right amount of closing time, so there's overlap... so I am not "homeless" if my house sells and closes... and I haven't yet bought another.  Hopefully there will be overlap so I don't need to worry about that.

Step 7, getting the new house ready for chinchillas.  We'll talk about Step 7 in the next post.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Current Status Update & Ponderings -- part 2

So, where are all the animals?

Well, right now, I have my two dogs (Kailey and Misty -- the rest are at Jim's), a handful of chins, and a hamster here with me.  My guinea pigs, snakes, frogs, and geckos are at my parents' place, and Jim has all the chinchillas, doves, and prairie dogs.  The chinchillas will all be gone by this time next week, and the hamster and dogs will remain here with me until the house sells.

Where did all the animals that were here, go?  They got adopted!  Other than the currently sold chinchillas, we have one chinchilla (Sybil) in foster care in Iowa, dealing with some health issues... but other than her, everyone here has found a home!

We stopped taking in rescue chins mid-March or so, so we do now have an extensive waiting list of people wanting to bring their animals in.  We have advised everyone... we have no idea how long everything will take.  We don't know when exactly we will move, or even, once we get the new place, how long it will be before we can take in animals.  But we can add people to the list.  And we have been.  We've also been referring people to another local rescue that can take in small animals, for those that can't wait.

Though I don't know (no one does) how long this all will take, I can imagine that by the time we are ready to take in animals, many of the people on the waiting list will have fallen off the face of the earth.  And that's ok.  The nice part is, we will be starting fresh... all our cages will be empty, so we will be able to take in a lot of animals at once.

Did you hear that though?  We will be starting fresh.  We pitched all the shelves and many of the accessories and whatnot that were gunk-ified in those cages.  So when we get the new place and get the cages in (which have to be powerwashed and set up), we do have to create completely new set-ups for them.  Again, this is why I say, just because we have the new house, that doesn't necessarily mean we will be taking in animals on day 1.

However, should anyone want to volunteer their time or effort, this will be a great opportunity where we will need help.

... believe me when I say, I would like to get animals in again... soon.

The more the impending exodus of the chinchillas comes closer, the more of a "rush" I feel like I am to hurry up and get this house ready to go, so it can be placed on the market and I can find a new place.