After a quarter century, the City of Evanston is on the verge of ending its relationship with the animal shelter volunteer group known as CARE.

Both aldermen on a special Human Services subcommittee voted Tuesday night to end the Community Animal Rescue Effort’s management of the city’s animal shelter after a contentious meeting that centered on complaints from dissident volunteers that the group euthanizes too many abandoned dogs.

In addition, City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz complained at the meeting that the group has only designated $29,000 toward a project, long-deferred by the city, to expand the shelter.

But the group’s IRS 990 report for 2012 indicates that while it has formally set aside only $29,000 for the expansion project, it had nearly $1.3 million in total assets.

That amount has increased from just under $1 million at the end of 2009 as the group consistently raised more from fundraising activities than it spent on operations.

Recently the city’s animal warden has intervened to reduce the euthanasia rate, placing about 18 dogs CARE had marked for death with other private rescue groups which claim to have successfully placed them in new homes.

By the end of Tuesday’s meeting the two aldermen on the subcommittee, Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, and Mark Tendam, 6th Ward, had concluded that CARE wasn’t willing to change its practices.

The issue is expected to return to the full Human Services Committee at a meeting March 3. Any decision would ultimately require approval of the full City Council.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. This is very disturbing,

    This is very disturbing, particularly if CARE is holding this money in non-interest bearing accounts. I would hope that they explain to their many donors why this situation exists. Their board needs to be held accountable.  If the city cuts ties with the group, what happens to this money? 

  2. What will happen to the Animal Shleter? Another Art Center?
    I mentioned at the council more may be in trouble than the kill rates, that they need to look at the money and the operation, but that being said, Wally is in the habit of not correcting problems but creating worst problems.

    If Care is kick out who runs this? The question is the City Scheme to close it? Remember at one point Wally wanted to sell the shelter! Will he try to pretrend we could use another community’s shelter and pay them? Recently the city wasted hundreds of thousand of dollars by giving money to Skokie to fix their fire training facility based on a rather poor analysis ( non-existing of training needs by the fire department) .

    Another interesting thing recently happen at Counci they approved $30,000 for environmental testing at James Park, when I questioned it, the answer they gave me and the proposal looked like a cover up. While I have heard different rumors one was about development.

    Those involved with the care and safety of the animals in this community should be concerned, no matter what side of the issue you are on, in the end this could turn out like the Art Center, were they may should be without a home.

    All sides involved in this issue should make it clear to the public officials no matter the out come – Care or No Care- we are not going to be selling our animal shelter! Will Wally try to take this over like the township?

  3. thank you

    Thank you to Ms Fiske and Mr. Tendam for this brave recomendation.  While CARE has many dedicated volunteers, it has not been successful at saving the dogs unfortunate enough to make their way to our city's shelter.  Now the animal warden can work with rescue groups to turn our city's shelter into a place we can all be proud of.  Kudos for moving in the right direction!

  4. Too much time, not enough real problems

    Explain to me:  what it means to euthanize "too many" dogs?  What is "too many" anyway.

    If the dogs are so precious, why aren't the volunteers themselves willing to save these dogs before they are euthanized? Are we really going to take the word of volunteers over people who really understand the point of this operation?  Here's a hint: it isn't to save dogs.  

    What I do know is too many people have too much time and not enough problems if we are wasting time discussing this issue.

    CARE raises more money than they spend in operating the place?  Sounds like the only reason I need to here to keep them there.  Not euthanizing means *more cost* to you! Expansion means *more cost* to you, both initially and *forever*.  Wake up taxpayers, we are being boonDOGled once again!

  5. Finally a move in the right direction

    The same person has been president of Care for more than 20 years. Anyone who's worked at any organization, especially a nonprofit, knows that things can get so entrenched that it's impossible to change. Time for new blood.   

    1. The board president should

      The board president should step-down and someone more willing to listen to the city should be put in place.  Simply put, the City wants to reduce the euthenesia numbers, and these old timers are too defensive to drop their guard and play nice. 

      The absolute biggest shame in all of this is the impact this could have to the organized efforts of all of those volunteers.  They do an incredible job.  I really wish CARE would drop their guard and save what's left.

      Between all of the articles i've read on this something that is still a little fuzzy. Are their accounting practices in question?  Wasn't really clear on that.  They do such an incredible job with their dog washes and cookie sales, i really hope that money all of those volunteers helped raise actually went somewhere that is documented.

  6. CARE

    And don't forget all of those ferral cats that had to be euthanized a few years ago because CARE REFUSED the City to take in those strays. If it wasnt for the assistance of an Indiana shelter, all of those animals would have been put to death.


    At a minimum, the board members of CARE need to be replaced.Getting rid of CARE makes more sense.

    1. Ferral Cat FACTS (not CARE)

      The following is a press release from the Evanston Police Department:

      "Back on 1-24-10 Evanston police responded to a death investigation in the 1900 Blk. of Grant St. Evanston, Illinois. It was determined that the deceased died of natural causes. As an outgrowth of this investigation police discovered that a feral cat colony, estimated at approximately 100 cats, resided on or about the deceased’s property.

      Relatives of the deceased were contacted and were not equipped to adequately care for this large non-socialized feral cat population and opted for City of Evanston assistance. This decision resulted in Evanston Animal Control responding to the deceased’s residence and exercising all options as stated in the Illinois Animal Control Act and the City of Evanston’s governing ordinance.

      UPDATE – February 5, 2010

      The Evanston police department has now entered into a partnership with the animal advocacy group known as the Tree House Humane Society. The goal of this partnership was to create positive long-term solution which would adequately address the identified non-socialized feral cat population as noted above. At present Tree House has taken over the capturing of all cats. Once detained Tree House staff will insure all cats are spayed / neutered. Tree House will then arrange for the transport of all cats to their new residence, a farm in Indiana."

    2. CARE fought against the City

      CARE fought against the City to SAVE the feral cats, as did Tree House and Alley Cat Allies.  The killing of the ferals lies 100% on the city and chief animal warden.

      1. CARE is the problem or the solution?
        Who believes that CARE wants to euthanize an animal or turn an animal away?

        Both scenarios are an absolute last resort. If you think differently, what does that say about you?

        If you have ever volunteered or adopted from CARE, then you would know the people and volunteers are the most caring, nurturing and generous people.
        They give tirelessly and make a real difference in the lives of those animals and the community.

        CARE solves a REAL problem for Evanston and embodies goodness for our society.

        Everyone has to make tough decisions, its just part of life. CARE functions as a bandaid for a problem. Remove the bandaid and now you have an open wound.

        The choice is up to you.

        Remember, whether you seek light or seek dark, you shall find.

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