Evanston subcommittee nominates SAFE as animal shelter tenant


Julia Jacobs/The Daily Northwestern

City clerk Rodney Greene swears in Brian Miller as 9th Ward alderman. The new alderman took his seat on City Council for a Human Services Committee meeting Monday immediately after he was sworn in.

Marissa Page, Assistant City Editor

Aldermen chose Saving Animals for Evanston as the new tenant for the Evanston Animal Shelter on Monday.

The selection will now go in front of City Council on May 26 for final approval.

The Human Services Committee recommended the city continue to fund the shelter until October 1, at which point SAFE will support all operations using funds collected from adoption fees. The vote on SAFE was postponed from an April 6 meeting, because the committee was unsure whether specific enough guidelines had been set for the new organization that would take over the space.

The six aldermen on the committee included newly elected Ald. Brian Miller (9th). Miller was sworn in Monday night before the meeting in front of a crowd of about 40 people at a special City Council meeting.

The eight other aldermen voted unanimously to confirm Miller after Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl chose Miller on Friday out of five aldermanic applicants. Miller, chief of staff of Cook County’s 13th district commissioner, replaced Coleen Burrus, who left council last month to take a job at Princeton University. He will serve out the rest of Burrus’ term.

“I think Brian will do an outstanding job not only for the 9th Ward, but for the city of Evanston,” Tisdahl said.

The search for a new organization to run the shelter began in May 2014, after the city severed ties with the shelter’s previous operator, Community Animal Rescue Effort. CARE was voted out of the shelter in April 2014 following concerns about its 45 percent euthanasia rate for dogs and its lack of cooperation with the city.

In the interim, Evanston police and volunteers have run the shelter.

“When (CARE) left, the shelter was thrown into a state of flux,” said Evanston resident Emma Smith, who has volunteered at the shelter for over a year. “Thanks to the competency and ability of the women who developed Saving Animals for Evanston, Evanston received the organization that perfectly fit its needs.”

Several other volunteers with SAFE, as well as aldermen, voiced their support of the organizations at the meeting.
“This is an effort that has been going on now for … a long time, and for everyone who’s been involved I know it’s been a really tough road with ups and downs, but I think we’ve landed in the right place,” Ald. Judy Fiske (1st) said. “I’ve always had confidence that SAFE folks could do a great job, their hearts are in the right place, they’re experienced and they have the trust of the volunteers.”

The committee unanimously approved the motion, which calls for city manager Wally Bobkiewicz to negotiate a two-year contract with SAFE. The organization also plans to change its name to the Evanston Animal Shelter Association.

Julia Jacobs contributed reporting.

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