Cook County Announces $8 million Animal Shelter Program Grant Recipient

May 28, 2020

Program designed to boost shelter capacity across County

CHICAGO – Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle today announced grant awards totaling $8 million to expand animal shelter capacity throughout the County. The grants were awarded through Cook County’s Department of Animal and Rabies Control’s Housing Cook County’s Animals program. South Suburban Humane Society (SSHS) received a $6 million grant and the City of Evanston received a $2 million grant for Evanston Animal Shelter (EAS).

Housing Cook County’s Animals is designed to cover the cost of planning and construction of animal shelter facilities in Cook County. The goal of the program is to expand the capacity of existing nonprofit and governmental animal shelters to address current overcrowding, while providing housing for animals impounded by Animal and Rabies Control.

“This program gives us greater capacity to safeguard all animal residents of Cook County ensuring they have safe shelter in times of need,” President Preckwinkle said. “We are fulfilling our commitment to ensure that animals are not turned away because of overcrowded shelters.”

SSHS will use its $6 million grant award towards construction of a new facility that will reduce shelter stress, provide enrichment and move pets through the shelter system as quickly as possible. The space will be designed to promote volunteerism, fostering and adoption.

“This grant is the game changer for the South Suburban Humane Society,” said Emily Klehm, CEO of SSHS. “Our award allows us to build a healthy, progressive, animal resource campus that will expand our capacity and make the lives of pets and people in the Southland significantly better.“ 

The City of Evanston is utilizing its $2 million grant towards a new 8,000 square foot facility for EAS, demolishing its current 2,600 square foot shelter which was built in the 1970s and intended only for dogs. The new facility will accommodate current and future needs of the open admission, no-kill shelter.

"We are grateful and excited to provide animals in Cook County with the kind of resources they need while we find their forever homes,” said Vicky Pasenko, executive director of EAS. “This is a wonderful opportunity for our shelter."  

Funding for the grant program is provided through small fees paid by dog and cat owners whose pets receive rabies vaccinations in Cook County. These funds are used for Cook County Animal and Rabies Control’s operations as well as special projects that safeguard residents and their pets throughout the County.

“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.”