Evanston officials are considering possible changes at the city’s animal shelter after some volunteers there complained that the shelter euthanizes too many abandoned dogs.

The Evanston Review reports that the volunteers say the shelter, which is largely managed for the city by the non-profit Community Animal Rescue Effort, has euthanized nearly half the dogs brought to it.

That’s about twice the rate at some big-city shelters, and ten times the kill rate at some smaller shelters in the area, like Waukegan Animal Control.

Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl and Aldemen Judy Fiske and Mark Tendam visited the Waukegan shelter last Friday. Afterward Fiske told the Review the euthanasia rate at the Evanton shelter is unacceptable.

The issue is expected to be on the agenda for the City Council Human Services Committee meeting Feb. 3.

Original story 

Top: The Evanston Animal Shelter at 2310 Oakton St. in an image from Google Maps.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Evanston’s Shelter – Kill Rate of Pets

    I just finished reading the original story Bill references at:

    Several years ago I was told that Evanston's shelter, operating under CARE was a NO KILL shelter.  We have TWO rescue dogs in our home and this article is seriously disturbing!  I am aghast to find that CARE is euthanizing dogs.  Further, the percentages of dogs being euthanized is inexcusable.  You don't need to be a rocket scientist to know the statistics cited show a very grave problem in CAREs re-homing testing.  This is obviously an area where Evanstonians need to expend an effort and put their best foot forward.  Other shelters have much lower rates.  Are we Heavanston for dogs….?  Fix this City Council. 

  2. Breaks my heart but not surprised given our experience
    I am truly distressed to hear this news. But, looking at the facts as I’ve seen them on the shelter’s website, I am also not surprised.

    When we were looking for a medium-sized or larger dog on the shelter’s website about 12-18 months ago (and we looked at that website repeatedly during those 6 months), virtually every dog was listed had what I will call “restrictions.”

    I would call my spouse when looking at the site and comment on how virtually every dog was listed as not acceptable for homes with children and/or not suitable for homes with cats. We have children and cats and, as responsible parents and cat lovers, we can’t very well adopt a dog that the shelter specifically identifies as not suitable to be in our home.

    We really wanted to adopt a dog in Evanston. It was frustrating that we could not due to the description of the dogs available as not suitable for homes with children. Instead, our dog came from another part of the state as the dog was described as suitable for a home with children and cats.

    Please look at CARE’s current listing for medium-sized or larger dogs. Virtually all have restrictions concerning children, cats and/or other dogs. It was our experience over about six months time. Others may have had a different experience.

    So is anyone surprised that there are few adopters stepping forward to take these dogs?

    I expect that many families and other adopters are in a similar situation. Even if you are not the parents of children, you may have children come to your home (children of adult friends, children who are neighbors, children who are extended family members, children who an adult in the home tutors or gives music lessons as examples). I would expect that these people likewise would avoid adopting such a dog. Also, many people already have at least one cat in their homes.

  3. No children…

    My family was hoping to adopt a dog last February, after checking the website I was disappointed to see there wasn't a dog available that could be placed in a home with a child under 8. After some periodic checking this seemed to always be the case. I fully support making sure the dog is a good match for a home, however how realistic are their expectations? How many potential adopters have older children, and no other cats or dogs? No wonder the euthanasia rate is so high…We finally gave up and went to Orphans of the Storm, (a truly no kill shelter) we are so happy we did.

  4. This is rich coming from the

    This is rich coming from the City and Chief Animal warden responsible for the slaughter of feral cats in 2010.  What, they suddenly found Jesus and want to rescue dogs that present a danger to the families that adopt them?

    1. Very sad to hear this news.

      Very sad to hear this news.  Hoping that the City can move quickly, avoid all of the finger pointing that is going on, and resolve this issue ASAP on behalf of all of the animals.

      1. Sorry — not following

        Not certain that I follow your post. Who is doing the "all of the finger pointing"?  Volunteers at the shelter raised an issue as stated in the article, two others posted on their experience with looking for a dog to adopt at the Evanston shelter (no finger pointing there…just stating facts about the restrictions placed on many dogs at the Evanston shelter) and another poster expressed concern and hope for a resolution. 

        Perhaps I am missing something. Would you please let us know?  Maybe you are referring to other comments made somewhere else. 

        I hope those in a position to make a change at the shelter will consider the input of many people in their quest to find a prompt solution that will substantially reduce the euthanasia rate. 


  5. Re:Volunteers Complain Shelter Kills Too Many Dogs

    I am the previous owner of a Wheaton Terrier (gotten as a puppy from a breeder) for 13 years until his natural death. My children, currently in their 20's grew up with this dog. Although we loved him, as a terrier, he was very protective. To this day, my daughter is resentful of this dog because for 13 years she could not have friends over without us worrying if he would growl and bite them. He did not belong in a family with children.

    After his death, we adopted a beagle from CARE and have had him for 2 years. He was identified as not being good with other dogs, but with people, he's fine. We also knew that he does not like to be left alone. Because of the great screening process at CARE we knew exactly what our dog's needs were before we adopted him. He has turned out to be one of the sweetest dogs we've ever had.

    My point is, that I trust the screening process at CARE. They know their dogs and whether they should be adopted to families with kids, etc. It would be a horrible tragedy if a child were to be mauled by a dog that should have not been placed in that family environment. In addition, what is to become of the dogs in a "no kill" animal shelter that cannot be aopted out? Are they to be kept in cages for the rest of their lives? I don't see this as humane either. People are so quick to think they don't want to euthanize these animals, but really, what is the alternatve and what is best for the dog?

    1. cage or Kill?

      So what you are saying is that you would rather CARE KILL a dog rather than keep it in a cage until a home is found? OK, we will go with your thought process for a minute. So then, why not farm the dogs out to the numerous rescues that are willing to take the dogs from CARE and find them good homes? Other than your one dog, what experience have you had with the screening process at CARE?

      I'm happy for you and your family that you adopted a beagle from CARE. Unfortunaltely, many of the dogs put down have been "bully" breeds. Speaking from experience with CARE, I have dealt with some of the dogs that were slated to be killed. Luckily, they were saved and have been placed in homes where they have done just fine. 

      I'm also sorry to say that your "beloved" Wheaton would probably have been killed for the behavior you described. 

      It is very obvious to those who have experience with CARE that there is something wrong with thier screening process. So, rather than reach out for help with the hundreds of other rescues in the area, they would rather just kill the dogs. Sounds more like an issue with the leadership than the process. 

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