SCHAUMBURG, IL—The Greater Schaumburg Realtors' Association's annual Parade Of Homes exhibition was marred Saturday by the presence of a rotting ox on the front lawn of one of the model homes on display.

More than two dozen potential home buyers, each of whom paid a $10 fee to participate in the Parade of Homes, requested their money back after coming across the festering ox carcass at 42 Butterfield Lane in the newly developed subdivision of Meadow Crest Village.

Beverly Russo, executive director of the Schaumburg Realtors' Association, apologized to Parade Of Homes participants for the incident and strongly urged them to still consider purchasing a Meadow Crest Village home.

"We deeply regret any inconvenience and unpleasantness that may have been caused by the late ox," Russo said. "I can assure you that it was not intended to be included in the roster of exhibited homes. Nor should it be construed that enormous mounds of maggot-infested ox flesh are common in this traditional yet forward-thinking new subdivision, which is conveniently located near several area public schools, shopping malls, and the scenic Lake Meadow Golf Course."

Exacerbated by the unseasonably hot noonday sun, the stench of the decaying ox corpse permeated the entire subdivision. Buyers tried their best to ignore the half ton of putrescent ox meat, holding handkerchiefs to their noses while Realtors' Association representatives showed off the showcase homes' innovative designs and quality home furnishings, which included the latest in self-cleaning ovens, light fixtures and appliances, wet bars, and indoor jacuzzis with adjustable whirlpool settings.

"These homes are to die for, but it's going to take a few good, hard cleanings to get that liquefying-entrails odor out of their exquisite, Georgian-inspired, patterned chintz drapes," said realtor Mary Lou Carey, pointing to a panoramic picture window in the sunken living room of a four-bedroom, two-bath home at 26 Crestview Terrace, which boasts spectacular views of the 18th hole of the Lake Meadow Golf Course and the necrotic, fly-engulfed beast of burden.

Local realtors are concerned that the ox may have a negative effect on property values.

"Any time a large animal dies in a suburban area like this, it tends to push the real-estate market downward," said Russell Abernathy, an independent realtor in nearby Arlington Heights. "Early in my career, I was helping an elderly couple sell their two-bedroom home, perfect for a young couple just starting out. But it remained on the market for nearly 10 months, just because a horse had died on the lawn that summer. It wasn't until the horse had rotted enough that the only remaining trace of it was its bleached bones that I was finally able to find a buyer. And even then, we closed at only half its original value."

The bloated ox heap, which Schaumburg city officials said will not be able to be moved until early next week, has also greatly disturbed Meadow Crest Village's 350 residents.

"That thing is just a terrible eyesore, and I want it out of here as soon as possible," area resident Teresa Stampfel said. "I mean, it certainly does nothing to enhance the beauty of Meadow Crest's secluded woodland setting."

"The thing I'm most worried about is the children," mother of three Shirley McEvoy said. "Putrefying oxen are unsanitary and unsafe for children to play in or around. And what if a hyena comes to eat its remains? Neighborhood children might try to pet it and risk contracting terrible brain and nerve diseases. And I'd hate for this ox to interfere with this Saturday's pee-wee soccer playoffs: My Kyle is playing goalie, and he'd be just heartbroken if the game were cancelled because of a dead mammal."