justice for cookie!! heartlessly euthanized at a no kill shelter sign now

i have loved animals with all my heart as long as i can remember. i have been rescuing dogs on some level since i was in high school( many years...too many). i am originally from wisconsin and moved to tennesse approx. 10 years ago. i was dumbstruck with the sad situation regarding dogs and cats and farm animals as well in the south. the day i moved into my house in the country was the day of my first southern rescue as my mini dream farm came with 2 dogs that would neither let me touch them or leave the barn. as a foot note, ten years later one of those dogs is asleep on my sofa as i write this and the other is spoiled rotten by a nurse that took care of my dad in a care facility up north...... in a nut shell, i have pretty much given everything to stray, abandoned, abused, old and sick dogs and i do not regret one moment or one penny spent...........now the bad stuff..........i have been rescuing dogs in tennessee on a large scale for the past five years. there are simpley not enough permanent homes here for al these great animals so like many many other groups all over the south, for the sake of the dogs they are transported north. spay/neuter and licenensing laws and a generally more conciensious populus help the northern states keep the unwanted pet population form the epidemic levels of the south. i fully vet every animal before it leaves and place about 90\% of all dogs in private permanent homes, with the smaller percentage going to other no kill shelters in wisconsin and illinois. i require all dogs privately adopted have a home inspection prior to the animal being transported. i also require an adoption contract that says we require and happily take back any animal that does not work out for any reason. i want everyone to be happy. i have hundreds and hundreds and maybe in the thousands at this point of successfull adoption of dogs that would other wise be dead. i totally vet every dog spay/neuter, vaccinate, heart-worm test, front-line, worm and any other medical thing needed, transport the dog and charge a fee of $75.00 which you all no is significantly less than these services cost and i pay for totally out of my own pocket. i only include that so everyone knows this is solely about the animals for me and nothing else....... when we take dogs to other no kill shelters we have a long discussion about there kill policies before working with them. we also extend the curtesy and require the group to give back any dogs they feel are not adoptable for any reason........so here is the problem. we started working with a group in chicago called the animal care league oak park that advertises themselves everywhere as chicagos original no kill shelter. sadly this is not true we found out last week that they euthanized one of our sweet dogs named cookie, who had lived at and slept in my house with all my other rescue animals in perfect harmony, she had no attitude at all regarding anything. cookie had also lived with one of my volunteers in wisconsin for 10 days. she ate out of the same dish as her dogs and slept with her 5 year old daughter in the bed every night..... we were told she was euthanized for food aggression by the shelter manager(which by the way, they said they never euthanize any animal for this reason, remember they are chicagos original no kill shelter) we heard later from a volunteer that she was euthanized only because she was brown and the director felt they had to many brown dogs at that time........we still have 17 dogs at this facility a litter of 9 adorable fluffy puppies and the balance are wonderful supremely adoptable adults. we are sickened and terrified for the lives of these animals as we have since found out from the published euthanasia statistic from the department of agriculture that the animal care leagues actual euthanasia rate for dogs is 17.7\%.....ugh!........so we are suing them for custody of our dogs back and to stop saying publicly and having many many fundraisers under the no kill umbrella. our attorney estimates this is going to run approx. $10,000, but we are going to do it come hell or high water. i will not let them get away with killing my wonderful dog cookie and all the others like her and continually advertise they are a no kill shelter. we told them in every conversation we had with them that if at anytime they felt one of our dogs was not adoptable we would happily take it back. they chose to kill this amazing dog instead. please tell your animal lover friends, we desperately need help to litigate this case. any. please sign the petion and passit on to anyone you canthink of. also if you would like to make a donation to help pay for the attorney, you can do so at fundable.com, just search "cookie" and you will see the link. also, i am attaching the e-mail i sent the animal care leagues director and his response and the posting from the volunteer that said cookie was euthanized for being brown. i can not tell you how sad i am but i am even more mad. this should not be allowed to happen in the united states of america. thank you.


>>December 15, 2008
>>Tom Van Winkle
>>Animal Care League Shelter
>>1013 Garfield Avenue
>>Oak Park, IL 60304
>>Dear Mr. Van Winkle:
>>Im writing this letter to inform you of a very disappointing and
>infuriating incident that recently occurred at ACL.
>>Over the past several months, I have transported approximately 70 adoptable
>dogs from the deplorable conditions of the south to ACL. I was under the
>impression that ACL found forever, loving homes for all of my dogs.
>I am extremely grateful and appreciative for our concerted effort to
>help homeless dogs.
>>All of the dogs that have been transported to you were in several
>hands-on foster homes prior to transport. Moreover, all of the dogs have
>been current on vaccinations, and most often fully vetted. At one time, you had
>mentioned that all of the dogs were very healthy, well-behaved, vetted, and
>it was not necessary to send the cream of the crop, that ACL was willing to
>take in animals with problems. As an all volunteer run collaborative
>effort, we pride ourselves in the care of our dogs. We continually strive
>to provide the best care possible for these innocent beings. It was
>conveyed to me that ACL, one of Chicagos original no-kill shelters, only
>euthanizes for 1) human aggression or 2) serious medical reasons. Ellen
>Milad was told to contact me or one of my volunteers if one of my dogs was
>deemed unadoptable. In that case, we would then be allowed the animals
>safe return to us. Unfortunately, a few days ago, this did not happen.
>>Last week, my volunteer coordinator Maureen Laguardia, communicated
>multiple times with Ellen regarding our upcoming transport on Saturday
>12/13. During one of those conversations, Ellen was asked how our dogs
>were doing from the previous transport. Ellen informed Maureen that all
>of our dogs had been adopted except Chopper and Miracle. Nothing was
>mentioned during any of these conversations about any problems. However,
>when I arrived on Saturday morning with 15 dogs, I asked Ellen specifically
>about a dog named Cookie who lived with me and many, many other dogs in my
>home and at Maureen's home with her dogs and small children. Ellen informed
>me Cookie had been euthanized for food aggression with other dogs a couple
>of days ago. This incident is one of the most disappointing and heartbreaking
>of my rescue career. Ellen knew we would be coming in a couple of days. She also
>knew that we would have gladly taken Cookie back with us. Maureen expressed this
>to Ellen numerous times. Maureen also expressed this to you directly during
>a phone conversation you had with her. Furthermore, if we were made aware of
>the situation, I would have arranged to have Cookie returned to me immediately.
>I sincerely hope that this has all been a miscommunication, and Ellen referred
>to the wrong dog. Otherwise, I cannot fathom why a self-proclaimed no-kill
>shelter would euthanize a dog for food aggression. It is indefensible why a
>simple phone call was not placed to us regarding this situation before
>making this incredibly bad decision. Ellen was told many times we would
>take back any of our dogs for any reason. Therefore, her assessment of this
>dog no matter how bad is not justification for this heartless action.
>>Cookie and her puppies were rescued by my 17 year old daughter from the
>middle of a busy road. Its unfathomable that her ultimate fate was
>euthanasia in a publicly viewed no-kill shelter. Additionally, Cookie was
>in 2 foster homes during her time with me. Both of these homes had multiple
>dogs and children. There was never a problem with her while she was in my
>care. To reiterate my unwavering commitment to these dogs, on Saturday, I
>asked Ellen about Chopper who is still for adoption. Ellen mentioned some
>behavior issues he is demonstrating. I told her I would take him back right
>then. Ellen insisted that she has ownership of Chopper, and that it was
>not necessary for me to take him back, and she probably should not have
>mentioned it anyway.
>>This incident raises many questions in my mind. I was under the impression
>that we were a collaborative group of people committed to the same cause.
>At this point, I question the fate of all the dogs I have left in ACLs
>care. As you can understand, I do not rescue these innocent beings to have
>another person ultimately make the decision to euthanize them.
>>Since you are quoted publicly as saying, "Our 250+ dedicated volunteer
>staff and team of five medical specialists work extremely hard to make sure
>that these animals are well cared for and not euthanized", I wanted to make
>you aware of this horrific, unnecessary incident. I would hope for
>strengthening communication chains and for corrective measures to be taken
>by ACL to insure your organization adheres to the no-kill philosophy
>purported in your literature. When ACL has the outlet to return an
>unadoptable dog to the original humane group and opts for euthanasia, I
>feel this kind of practice is far from a no-kill shelter.
>all other organizations are thrilled that we make this offer to take back
>"problem" dogs if the need should arise. Lastly, I hope similar issues will
>be approached in a more pragmatic and democratic manner.
>>I prefer this not to be elevated into an unnecessarily difficult and public
>situation. After contemplation, I hope you can understand, we are now
>uncomfortable with any of our dogs being at your shelter. As we value all
>the good work you do, we would prefer to pick up all of the 15 dogs/puppies
>we left on Saturday and the remaining 2 dogs at your shelter from Novembers
>transport (Chopper and Miracle). I appreciate your understanding and
>>Thank you for your time. I look forward to a prompt reply.
>>Hollie Whitlock


Ms. Whitlock,
I am sorry to hear you no longer trust the Animal Care League, but I stand behind our policies. My staff and I have always communicated honestly about our euthanasia policies and we also made it very clear that once animals are transferred to our care they are not returned. You point out in your third paragraph below that we did inform you that we euthanize for human aggression, which is the case with food aggression. I feel it is inhumane to subject an animal to life in a cage because it is too aggressive to be adopted (which is often their fate at shelters that do not euthanize under any circumstance) and unethical to adopt out an animal which poses an unreasonably high risk of biting someone.

I respect your right to disagree with our policies, but you either did not see the aggressive behavior we have seen or we also differ on our opinions of adopting out animals that pose this high level of risk. In either case I do agree that we should end our relationship as to not create further bad feelings. We will not be returning any dogs, but will remove your group from our contact list.


Tom Van Winkle; CABC
Executive Director - Animal Care League
1011 Garfield St
Oak Park, IL 60304
(7... - phone
(7... - fax


3.) I AM ALSO ATTACHING THIS Cl post.........UGH!

The ACL no kill "rescue" is the "puppy mill" of dog rescues!!!

I currently volunteer at ACL. I see what is being said about ACL destroying dogs at a NO KILL shelter as being the truth. And, this had bothered me for a long long time. How a NO KILL shelter can kill for really NO reason is beyond me. But, it happens all the time.

The director not even liking the color of a particular dog demands it be destroyed. For example, the director recently said we had too many "brown dogs" and many were destroyed simply for that reason. I saw your dog Cookie destroyed for this reason ALONE! And, it causes me not to be able to sleep at night. Ask my husband!

The director should step down. Simple. And, ACL should turn over its records to Chicago Tribune or WGN TV/RADIO to be looked at if they believe they are telling the truth. Because they are NOT! I volunteer at ACL and I can't live with this anymore. I'm SO glad someone finally "spilled the beans" on a "puppy mill" of so called rescues.

They will probably know who I am. Fine. I don't care. I only speak out for the dogs. Then, let them fire me! Can they even fire a volunteer? I suppose they can if they can kill INNOCENT dogs at a so called NO KILL resuce!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to those who love our animals and believe in what is right. May the new year show a new director of ACL or may we see it close.......

The ACL rescue is the "puppy mill" of dog rescues!!! I've thought of stepping down but then who would try to save these animals? When good people stand aside those bad people win! And, we must let the animals win, NOT their director making OVER $100K a year at ACL!

It sickens me their two faced ways. But, I will stay on for the sake of the animals which deserve love and good homes, and, NOT the needle because they were born a certain color the director believes are not popular!

Thank you!

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