Some unhappy animal shelter volunteers will get to air their complaints before a Evanston City Council committee tonight.

The Human Services Committee is scheduled to consider a proposal from City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz to extend the city’s agreement under which the volunteer Community Animal Rescue Effort largely runs operations at the shelter on Oakton Street.

The unhappy volunteers argue that too high a percentage of dogs brought to the shelter end up being euthanized.

CARE leaders, in turn, complain that the city has failed to move on plans developed nearly a decade ago to expand the shelter to provide better conditions for animals housed there.

A memo from Bobkiewicz says that when CARE leaders met with city officials in November, “both parties expressed frustrations with the other on specific issues related to the operation of the shelter.”

But they agreed to come up with a one year extension of the agreement, to run through 2014, that will be up for discussion tonight.

Bobkiewicz says if operational issues can be resolved “to the satisfaction of both parties” this year, then a new agreement could be drafted to resume the shelter expansion project and to continue to have CARE operate the shelter in the future.

Reports from two consultants who studied the shelter’s operation last year recommend a number of steps the shelter could take to improve adoption rates — from testing dogs for behavioral problems sooner after they arrive at the shelter to more quickly getting their pictures posted on the CARE website.

The chart above shows the percentage of all live dogs and cats taken to the shelter who were eventually euthanized.

Most dogs brought to the shelter are returned to their owners and only about 20 percent are adopted. By contrast, very few cats brought to the shelter are returned to their owners, but roughly 80 percent of them are eventually adopted.

Related document

Human Services Committee meeting packet (.pdf)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Lower Euthanasia Rate

    So according to the graph the euthanasia rate is actually decreasing?

    That should be good news. Am I missing something here?

    I can imagine all of us could agree that one euthanized animal is one too many, but realistically not possible. I'm happy to see the rate trending down each of the past three years.


    1. Euthanasia rate decreased despite CARE, not because of it

      RacerX – The only reason the euthanasia rate went down is that in late 2012, the City started ignoring most of CARE's euthanasia recommendations. CARE actually requested 39 euthanasias (45% of its unclaimed dogs) in 2012. But the City warden transferred 10 of those dogs to other rescue groups, leaving the final euthanasia count at 29. CARE continues to use the same behavior evaluations and has requested euthanasia for many more dogs than are reflected in the graph.  

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