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Plan would create animal shelter oversight board

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Evanston would get a new appointed board to oversee its animal shelter under a staff proposal to be reviewed by the Human Services Committee Monday.

The proposal is a response to a dispute over the city's relationship with the Community Animal Rescue Effort. Dissident members of the group, which has helped run the shelter for the past quarter century, claim it has recommended killing too many abandoned dogs.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz, in a memo to the committee released Monday night, proposes creation of a seven-member Board of Animial Care and Control appointed by the mayor that would:

  • Review and approve the city's animal control policy.
  • Organize fundraising efforts for the animal shelter.
  • Review monthly reports from the chief animal warden and the volunteer animal organization chosen to help run the shelter.
  • Coordinate publicity efforts for the shelter.

The board would include two aldermen, one representative of the volunteer animal organization and four more city residents and would be required to meet at least quarterly.

The city manager's proposal also recommends that the city create an animal shelter fund to receive donations to support the shelter's operation. Until now charitable fundraising for the shelter has been done by CARE.

And it would require disclosure by the animal volunteer group chosen to work with the city of its audited financial statements and tax returns, as well as information about its leadership and staff.

The manager's memo also includes a draft of a proposed animal control policy for the city which would clarify that the city's chief animal warden has ultimate control over all decisions regarding the dispostion of dogs under the shelter's supervision.

That includes whether the dog would be offered for adoption, be sent to foster care or a rescue program, or be euthanized.

It would also shift responsibility for behavioral evaluations of dogs at the shelter from the volunteer animal organization to the city.

And it provides for disclosure of records of the volunteer group under the state Freedom of Information Act as a city contractor, calls for customer service training for shelter volunteers and animal control officers and expanded adoption hours at the shelter.

Bobkiewicz suggests that if the Human Services Committee approves the plan, he could then negotiate a one-year agreement with CARE for operation of the shelter under the new policies.

Animal Shelter memo 3/24/14

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