Search for CARE replacement will start next month, mayor says

Sophia Bollag, City Editor

City officials will begin a search next month to find a new organization to run the Evanston animal shelter and replace the Community Animal Rescue Effort, Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl announced Thursday.

At its meeting Tuesday night, City Council voted to end Evanston’s partnership with CARE due to disagreements between the city and the nonprofit. The city ordered CARE to vacate the shelter by May 9.

(City Council votes to cut ties with care)

Tisdahl wrote in an email to CARE volunteers Thursday that she hoped they would continue to work for the animal shelter under new management.

“The City of Evanston’s commitment to the Evanston Animal Shelter continues,” Tisdahl wrote. “As current Animal Shelter volunteers, I want to thank you for your service and invite you to continue helping Evanston animals in need.”

In the email, Tisdahl explained that the city would take over the coordination of volunteers until it finds a new organization to run the shelter. She advised volunteers to coordinate with Cmdr. James Pickett of the Evanston Police Department, who will oversee shelter operations temporarily with chief animal warden Linda Teckler.

Controversy over the management of the shelter began in 2012, when CARE volunteers began to question the organization’s practices, CARE volunteer Alisa Kaplan (Law ‘11, Weinberg ’13) said during the Tuesday council meeting. Volunteers were especially concerned by its animal behavior evaluation process and its relatively high canine euthanasia rate, which was about 45 percent at the time.

“There were significant problems with the process that CARE used to decide which dogs to euthanize,” said Kaplan. “CARE never acknowledged that there were problems with their process, or offered to make meaningful changes to it. … They continued to use the same process to recommend euthanasia for dogs who, after being rescued by the city, are now doing well in homes.”

City Council will continue its discussion of CARE at its next meeting on April 28. Several aldermen and residents expressed concern during the Tuesday meeting about money raised for the Evanston animal shelter that CARE currently controls.

“By (CARE’s) own admission, some of that money was raised for the Evanston animal center,” Ald. Mark Tendam (6th) said. “I don’t know what legal grounds we have to stand on but I do believe that we need to do this for the taxpayers of Evanston and those who have contributed quite a bit of money to the shelter.”

The council will discuss the issue of the money that CARE controls at its April 28 meeting, city manager Wally Bobkiewicz told The Daily.

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