The City of Evanston today was awarded a $2 million grant from Cook County to to help fund construction of a new 8,000 square foot animal shelter.
The new building will be more than triple the size of the current shelter, which was built in the 1970s and originally intended to house only dogs.
"We are grateful and excited to provide animals in Cook County with the kind of resources they need while we find their forever homes,” Vicky Pasenko, executive director of EAS said in a statement. “This is a wonderful opportunity for our shelter."
The grant is funded by fees paid by dog and cat owners whose pets receive rabies vaccinations in Cook County.
The grant will require the local shelter to handle pets rescued in the northern suburbs by the county animal control department.
The county today also awarded a $6 million grant under the same program to the South Suburban Humane Society which also will be used to help build a new facility.
“This program gives us greater capacity to safeguard all animal residents of Cook County ensuring they have safe shelter in times of need,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said. “We are fulfilling our commitment to ensure that animals are not turned away because of overcrowded shelters.”
“I see the need for more shelter space every day,” said Dr. Thomas Wake, DMV, Animal and Rabies Control administrator. “My department is committed to providing the most innovative and safe homes for our animals in need.”
When the City Council agreed in February to seek the grant, City Engineer Lara Biggs said she anticipated that the shelter would get about 150 additional pets per year from the county, in addition to the 500 animals it cares for each year now.
A new shelter has been on the city's wish list for years, but a lack of funding has kept the project from moving forward.