Frustrated by a cryptic email message, Evanston aldermen Monday night gave leaders of the Community Animal Rescue Effort a week to indicate whether they’re still interested in working at the city’s animal shelter.

The aldermen on the city’s Human Services Committee suggested several revisions to a new management plan for the shelter developed by City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz, and he pledged to have a final draft of the proposal ready for another committee meeting next Monday.

The plan would establish a new appointed board to oversee the shelter’s operation, create a city fund to receive donations to support shelter operations, clarify shelter operating procedures and require financial disclosures by any volunteer group chosen to assist with shelter operations.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz.

Bobkiewicz said that Monday morning, a week after he’d sent CARE President Linda Gelb a copy of the original draft plan, he and members of the committee received an email response from her that read:

“Thank you for the opportunity to review the draft proposal. However, it is abundantly clear that the proposal is not consistent with the Committee’s request.”

“I have no idea what CARE’s email means,” Alderman Mark Tendam, 6th Ward, said. “We are the committee. Tell us what it doesn’t meet.”

But Gelb, who attended the meeting, declined to elaborate on the emailed message.

Tendam and Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, said they weren’t willing to have city staff conduct any further closed-door meetings with CARE, as had been done over the past year or more as concerns grew about the shelter operations.

The committee appeared ready, if it doesn’t get a favorable response from CARE by next Monday, to recommend that the city seek requests for proposals from other animal welfare groups to step into CARE’s role at the shelter.

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Plan would create new animal shelter oversight board

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Cut the cord!

    The City, for whatever mysterious reason, has been extremely generous in their handling of the issues uncovered by the former volunteers.  Yet CARE hasn't budged an inch, and now this email?  And no further explanation in person?  Does that sound like a healthy entity with which to partner?   

    CARE is not interested in cooperating with the City.  

    It is not interested in adopting best practices in shelter management and dog assessment.  

    It is not interested in discussing where its considerable funds have gone.  

    The only things the powers-that-be seem to care about is maintaining some control over their perverse little fiefdom where dogs go to die.  Let CARE go!       


    1. CARE

      I am sure the "lets all get together and kick them out" trolls will be out soon enough. Has anyone bothered to question  the vitriol of the anti-CARE comments and campaign out there. Sure, CARE needs to get its act together and frankly the fact that they have money in the bank seems to be driving the arrogance of a board that seems to be talking "at" and not to the genuine concerns that some have raised. But let us not be so naive as to accept at face value the indignation that some of the politicians – including the Tandem chap and Fiske appear to be spouting. They got their noses bloodied when their subcommittee report got trashed and now its time for round two. Believing that they can be fair and even handed is to believe the Chris Christie "I'm exonerated" report and all else. Just remember at the end of the day this is about dogs and cats and the volunteers who give time and their hearts to animals at the Evanston Shelter. Sure the people with pitchforks will get CARE out – as they have wanted to for some time (and aided by the pigheadedness of CARE's leadership) but it is a warning to anyone else who steps in to take this role in the future. Keep looking over your shoulder and know that when the time comes the mob and its "fearless" leaders will have their sacrifice. Good luck !

      1. nope

        If the leadership of CARE weren't euthanizing nearly half of the dogs entrusted to them there wouldn't be indignation. 

      2. Hyperbole

        Sometimes indignation is warranted. Care had over a year to change their ways without this going public and they refused. They have no one to blame but themselves for the public outcry. 

      3. Fiske and Tendam look pretty good to me

        Alderman Grover's the one who got her nose bloodied. She didn't listen to the subcommittee's recommendation and gave CARE another chance, just to have CARE insult the Committee with that ridiculous email. Guess the subcommittee knew what they were talking about when they said the City couldn't work with these people.

      4. Roust CARE

        Having followed this story since the beginning, I am an enthusuastic supporter of getting CARE out of our animal shelter. It is seriously disturbing to know that external rescue agencies have had to come in to rescue animals slotted for euthanasia from our animal shelter and then have been able to successfully place those rescued animals.

        Any organization of volunteers stepping into the role currently occupied by CARE will do so knowing our city showed we have a conscience by doing the right thing and rousting CARE… And with that knowledge, they'll show up with a glad heart and a spring in their step.

        CARE is interested in removing Evanston from their name so they can move into other local area animal rescues. It is a sincere hope of mine that all of the press they are getting from this story keeps them long distances from any sort of position where they have authority over euthanasia determinations for animals.  To borrow a bit of your line, Pitchfork writer, the world will be a little brighter the day CARE's apparently fearless leaders will no longer have their sacrifice.

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