Animal Care League leadership under fire

Employees and former staff say dangerous dogs adopted out, unadoptable dogs taking up space


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Contributing reporter/Editor

More than 30 employees, former employees and community members showed up at First Presbyterian Church in River Forest Tuesday to voice their concerns about conditions at the Animal Care League shelter in Oak Park. Calling themselves the Oak Park-River Forest Concerned Citizens for Animal Welfare the group complained about issues they say tarnish the image of the Animal Care League and endanger the community.

The group also called for the termination of ACL's new executive director, Kira Robson. But Robson, reached after the meeting, said employee unrest was based on misinformation and the fact that ACL had no director for almost a year prior to her stepping in. She said staff was chafing at new leadership and having to be accountable.

Issues discussed at Tuesday's meeting were characterized as quality of life for animals at the shelter, threats to public safety, and a toxic working environment.

Originally, the committee asked the Animal Care League's board of directors if they could make a presentation at the board's Tuesday night meeting. However, they decided to host their own public presentation after being told their session would be cut in half and would be videotaped by a human resources attorney.

With no board members present, the committee members spoke of what they consider poor management and unethical business practices being allowed by the shelter's board of directors and Robson.


Euthanasia policy changes

Animal Care League veterinarian Dr. Mary Eisenlohr disagreed with the shelter's practice of killing fewer animals in order to be considered a "no-kill shelter." She said while the public may think this is good, it is actually harmful because it means that the shelter is running out of space for other animals, resulting in a trickle-down effect of inhumane living conditions and overflow of animals at this and other local shelters.

"The grim and harsh reality is that the more time and opportunity we give one animal, fewer animals get any opportunity at all," said Eisenlohr, who gave an example of a pit bull that has been at the shelter for five months and can no longer be walked by experienced volunteers because of his violent behavior, resulting from confinement and stress. This is causing problems because other dogs could have been adopted had they been able to occupy the space this troubled dog has occupied, thus saving more animals in the long run.

Robson said in a telephone interview that the shelter has been given direction by the board to reduce euthanasia.

"We only euthanize for aggression or extreme illness," she said.

She said she changed the number of people who made "end-of-life decisions" for shelter animals, which were formerly made by the animal managers alone.

"We've incorporated more people involved in the decision making and documented it better," said Robson, who previously worked for PAWS in Chicago where she helped open the adoption center. She also worked for Chicago Animal Control. 

Fifty-five animals were euthanized between Nov. 2013 and April 2014, whereas 65 had been euthanized the previous year during the same period, said Robson, adding that the pit bull in question often travels to a volunteer's home and is allowed to swim in the kiddie pool as part of "enrichment resources ACL is lucky to have."


'Dangerous' animals adopted    

Critics said the ACL has radically changed its definition of what it means for an animal to be adoptable in the six months since Robson has been executive director. Ellen Milad, former manager of canine operations, described what she considers the dishonest practice of marketing dogs as ready for new homes and good pets despite a history of violent behavior toward humans and other pets.

Milad said one dog adopted by a family killed their pet cat within three hours of adoption. After the dog was returned, Milad said, the shelter adopted it out to another family, which did not know its history of killing a family pet. She said members of the staff felt as though they had to lie to the second family all in the name of adoption. She also described another dog currently up for adoption, which has injured several volunteers.

Veterinary Technician Jane Barker said dog adoptions are down 18 percent this year. She attributes it to the bad reputation the shelter is beginning to develop as people learn of such stories.

"Do dangerous dogs make good ambassadors as shelter dogs for Animal Care League?" Barker asked.

Robson disputed the 18 percent figure. She said the adoption numbers were almost the same year-over –year in the first six months. She said the number had fallen from 372 in 2013 to 364, or one percent.

Robson, interviewed later, acknowledged the family with cats that was not properly warned about how to introduce the new dog to the household was a "staff mistake." She denied that staff members were told not to tell new adopters of the cat-killing incident.

"The dog tested fantastically. He was a great dog. We had a terrible incident and we made a mistake," Robson said.

Robson said the ACL uses "SAFER," a behavior evaluation procedure approved by the ASPCA.

"We never put an animal into the community if we think it is dangerous," she said.

Robson said in the past six months 12 dogs were returned from adoption, two with cat issues.


Employee morale

At the public meeting, Eisenlohr said morale is extremely low among employees at the shelter.

"In the past seven months, ACL has lost 40 percent of its employees, many whom left in despair," she said. "We deeply believe in [ACL's] mission as we understand it, to help as many animals as possible, but we feel we cannot attain this end on the path down which we have veered."

Robson later disputed those numbers, saying around eight people (around 30 percent of the staff) had resigned or been terminated in the past six months.

Veterinary Technician Carol Craig said she would like to see Robson terminated because of her lack of care in preserving the mission of the Animal Care League and promoting dishonest business practices.

"I would like [the board] to understand those concerns and I would like them to find an executive director who would, in fact, implement the policies that we think are accurate," Craig said.

Milad said the board needs to seriously look at the questions the committee is raising in order for the shelter to thrive.

"We're concerned about safety in our communities, the quality of care of some of the animals at the Animal Care League and the toxic work environment that also floats into the reputation of the Animal Care League that is something so many of us have worked so hard to build up."

Robson said later she thought some members of the ACL staff were having a hard time adjusting to "leadership" after having no executive director for almost a year.

"Somebody coming in and asking for following proper policy and procedures and asking for accountability is a shock to the system," she said. "We have had a few people resign," she acknowledged, "but one was moving out of state."

"The whole process of communication appears to have broken down," for some employees, Robson acknowledged. "I always say my door is always open."

This article has been updated to provide figures for the number of animals adopted and the number of ACL employees who have resigned or been terminated.

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Reader Comments

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Comment Policy


Posted: August 31st, 2014 9:59 AM

wow you want to kill even MORE animals? Sad.. no heart

Cindy from Chicago  

Posted: August 30th, 2014 3:39 PM

No-Kill doesn't mean never kill. A shelter can have that title if they euthanize less than 10% of their yearly intake. BTW - PAWS has taken in many behavior and medically challenged dogs. They train them on and off site to get them ready for adoption. My dog was there for 18 months before I adopted him. His training, the staff and volunteers molded him into a wonderful companion.

Another Volunteer from Oak Park  

Posted: July 3rd, 2014 11:23 AM

Paws has that "no kill" model because it carefully chooses animals to be admitted. It does not take animals they don't think will be adopted. They have to go somewhere else. Here's exactly what "no kill" means: we let someone else do it.

former volunteer  

Posted: July 1st, 2014 2:51 PM

A few years ago I stopped giving money to and volunteering for ACL because I learned it euthanized far in excess of what I had thought, and I felt my trust had been betrayed by staff members playing dumb. If the shelter is now trying to move towards a PAWS-style no-kill model, I consider that very good news.

OP Dog Adopter from Oak Park  

Posted: June 30th, 2014 9:00 AM

My husband and I adopted our dog from ACL at an adoption event in 2011 and couldn't be happier with him. I was told some of the employees really loved him when he was at the shelter. I'm really sad to read about the conditions at the shelter since we got our best little buddy from there. Boy, reading the comments from Robson what came to mind is "gee, nothing like throwing your staff under the bus." Perhaps it's her leadership style that's the problem.

Business is good from Chicago  

Posted: June 28th, 2014 11:01 PM

There are certainly resources available to victims of aggressive dogs.

Neutral party  

Posted: June 28th, 2014 2:04 PM

@Animal Welfare One could easily argue you have a greater duty to get the dogs adopted to loving homes who understand how to deal with canine behavior AND educate the community about the responsibility of taking a shelter dog. Many "aggressive" dogs can be saved. Perhaps a home w/kids isn't right for a given dog. Less than 5% of dogs are truly too sick or unsafe to adopt out.

Animal Welfare Worker from Chicago  

Posted: June 28th, 2014 1:19 PM

Nobody wants to "kill" animals. There is a great deal of ignorance on euthanasia among those who do not work in animal welfare. We have a duty to the community to only adopt out safe dogs. Under Kira's leadership unsafe dogs who have attacked children are being put up for adoption. I recommend those of you who do not work in this field to read this:


Posted: June 28th, 2014 1:05 PM

@ron - so you will only provide financial support if they kill animals? how noble of you

Ron from Oak Park  

Posted: June 28th, 2014 12:36 PM

Robson and her personal insults must go. Robson and her anonymous "Loves Dogs" tag only launch personal attacks the honorable employees. Why don't you discuss the issues? Mary Eisenlohr is the best thing for ACL and the community. I will pull all my financial support to ACL if Robson's policies stand.

Jackie Glosniak  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 10:19 PM

In response to those who are criticizing the reporting of the article, the Wednesday Journal is not taking sides in this matter but solely reporting on an event as it happened. Any facts were written as alleged by those at the meeting (and credited as such) and all quotes are accurate as attributed to the sources who said them. All information was reported as stated at the meeting and we fairly balance the story with the Exec Director giving her two cents on the matter.


Posted: June 27th, 2014 5:53 PM

Dr. Eisenlohr is noble.

Don Anderson from Oak Park IL  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 5:41 PM

I am interested to know if the employees who staged this complaint-a-thon presented their complaints to the ACL board. Don't use the excuse about not being able to speak at the meeting... the US Postal Service still works. If these employees made no effort to document their complaints and present them to the board in writing for the boards review, this all seem like sour grapes. The board hired the ED and it is up to them to determine if the ED is doing a job that makes them happy.

Loves dogs  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 5:39 PM

Anyone can 'speak up' these days. It takes very little 'courage' to so let's not fool ourselves into thinking anyone is doing anything noble here. Don't worry about how many posts it took to share my thoughts Southside and stick to topic here. Go Cubs Go! :)


Posted: June 27th, 2014 5:29 PM

Loves dogs, yes, a former employee griping is bad for business, but Dr. Eisenlohr is a current employee, and for her to speak up takes courage. Also, stop with the 3 part posts.


Posted: June 27th, 2014 5:24 PM

Hey Loves dogs, I'll back away if you do. Btw, since you said many, who are the few that can stay?

Loves dogs  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 5:24 PM

PT 3 - The worst resource to entertain for comment is a former employee with a grievance. It feeds the freak show. Your behavior is so shortsighted and damages the organization far beyond whatever immediate personal satisfaction you might get. Regroup, work together, and start being a better advocate for the animals than an adversary for your organization.

Loves dogs  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 5:21 PM

PT. 2 -The board wouldn't have hired the current director if they felt she wasn't qualified or agreed with the direction she wants to take the organization in. Any place one works has a code of conduct you must adhere to. If you don't like it, you either need to work with it or move on. Apply some common sense instead of being so irresponsible and unproductive. Work your problems out in house with some constructive compromising rather than airing all your overly emotional dirty laundry in print.

Loves dogs  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 5:20 PM

PT. 1 - If many of you would back away from the keyboard & apply this wasted energy in supporting the vision of the ACL director, the rest of us would be spared this soap opera. Be part of the solution instead of tearing her down & doing so in such a public fashion. You look foolish. It's a culture change for an organization that appeared to be all too willing to put an animal down without giving it a fighting chance.


Posted: June 27th, 2014 5:12 PM

@ If this is Barbara from Oak Park, vis%uFFFDcous adjective ?vis-k?s of a liquid : thick or sticky : not flowing easily. Spell check only tells you a word is spelled correctly, does not tell you if the word is correct. You are way wrong on everything else, too.

Robyn Michaels from Chicago  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 5:10 PM

Interesting the board would hire someone who proudly worked for a no-kill shelter which picks & chooses the animals they take in, and disregards hands-on staff wh9o say some dogs are dangerous.

Sue from Oak Park  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 4:55 PM

this newspaper should get their facts RIGHT before writing articles that ARE not accurate. Get your facts right lady!!!! Or go back to school.

Neutral party  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 4:54 PM

@Reply I think a much more positive spin on this story would have been if the 30 people at the meeting had a story in the WJ about their new well-run non-profit to help animals in the community rather than directing the sour grapes at ACL in a negative way. It's hard to not see this as disgruntled employees. Even if the claims are valid. Explain how you're going to do things differently. Or work within ACL's framework for change.

Barbara from Oak park  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 4:51 PM

If this Dr Mary is such a SAINT why is she bashing the organization that she works for and creating all this drama ... Instead of saving as many animals as she can. That is NOT a saint people!!! Viscous ! Wow


Posted: June 27th, 2014 4:45 PM

Neutral Party, Be aware that the staff and volunteers tried to address these issues internally and were shrugged off and then threatened.

Neutral party  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 4:19 PM

The public sentiment is on the side of no kill though. One AP poll estimates that 70% of pet owners would prefer no kill. If these critics want to make that argument, fine. But don't lump a complicated political issue within the animal welfare community in with bickering about personnel. This whole drama is petty and unprofessional. This should have stayed internal. Or you're all free to start your own rescue group with different values. Don't be toddlers arguing over a toy.

LOVE from Oak Park  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 4:12 PM

Dr. Mary Eisenlohr is a SAINT! Not only is she a highly ethical person, but she is a brilliant vet! Shelter medicine is incredibly limited and Dr. Eisenlohr is able, not only to make do, but to go above and beyond every day with limited tools and medication. Everyone should be taking time to thank her. She performs an incredible amount of spay/neuter surgeries to keep animals healthy and populations from running rampant AND has been able to keep all the ACL animals impeccably treated for years!

Sad ACL employee cont... from oak park  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 4:04 PM

Euthanasia is never an easy thing, for any of us. Believe me, when i started at the shelter I thought that it was a horrible thing to do. The reality of the situation is that the longer unsafe animals sit in kennels the more safe/healthy dogs and cats get euthanized elsewhere. This is real animal neglect. NOT the euth of the occasional bad animal. I miss the family atmosphere we once were. I miss the enthusiastic staff and the good feelings that came when seeing a highly adoptable dog go home.

Sad ACL employee from Oak Park  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 3:56 PM

As a staff member at the Animal Care League, I have been sad to see the shelter in such low spirits since Kira was appointed executive director. The staff has been mistreated and the animals quality of life has been significantly worse. Obviously all the staff members are huge animal lovers, and for that to be called into question is obscene. We work so hard to make sure they have happy and healthy lives. Under Kira's reign we have seen the opposite done for our beloved animals.


Posted: June 27th, 2014 1:42 PM

Is it possible that both sides are equally right (and wrong) but no one wants to recognize this and instead of fighting, just look for a compromise?


Posted: June 27th, 2014 1:42 PM

I sense that what is happening here is the age old truth of "There are three sides to every story: yours, theirs and the truth". Is it likely that the new ED is very good at her job seeing that people she worked with in her past positions spoke so highly of her and institutions like PAWS are nationally recognized as being very successful? Yes. Is it also likely that prior to coming to ACL, the staff was comfortable with their way of doing things and also did a good job? Yes.

To Susan and Others Like Her  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 12:13 PM

The cat was probably destructive because it has been tossed around like garbage because people don't care to take a moment and learn how to care for a deaf animal. It was traumatized by being in likely several homes and in a shelter. Instead of taking the time to work with the cat, you dump it back at the shelter asking for an exchange. Want to talk about why shelters are ineffective? It's because of people like this.

Realistic Expectations  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 12:11 PM

An animal is a commitment and an imperfect living thing, not a shirt you buy at the store you can just return when you don't like it.

Realistic Expectations  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 12:10 PM

If you want an animal that has been fully vetted (no pun intended), then you should go to a rescue that has its animals in foster homes where the temporary caretaker truly gets to know and care for the animal round the clock. However, adoption fees at these kinds of agencies will run you $500+. If you adopt from a shelter, expect to pay at least that in health care and training costs but only $50-150 in adoption fees. As a wise man once said, there ain't no free lunch.

Realistic Expectations  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 12:09 PM

I think people have the wrong expectations from most shelters. Generally speaking, shelters do not have the animal's backstory or history and the animal isn't with them long enough and/or there's not enough resources to ensure that the animal is completely rehabilitated both behaviorally and physically. This is why the adoption fees are so low. On the other side, they should be clear about this and be truthful on what they do know.

susan from chicago  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 11:34 AM

In January 2013 I had adopted a cat from ACL Oak Park. After a day I realized he was very destructive and also found out he was deaf. I returned him to ACL and requested another cat. After taking him back ACL put him back up for adoption but never disclosed his destructive behavior. My new cat was very sick, had an eye infection and open sores on her body. I kept her anyway and after a year she is finally healthy. I would never recommend ACL to anyone.

Ruth from Fort Collins, Colorado  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 11:27 AM

Just close the place down and leave those animals on the streets! As for all the "the old guy was better" than where did he go? Change sucks for everyone and it sounds like all people are trying to do is make a difference! SUPPORT THIS CAUSE, STOP BREAKING IT DOWN!


Posted: June 27th, 2014 11:14 AM

@voice for the animals: Sounds like Tom was a great voice for the animals..if you support killing them.

voice for the animals  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 10:54 AM

These things never happened when Tom VanWinkle was the ED, he was amazing and the ACL was better for it. You made a huge mistake by letting him go!! This new ED sounds insane and she needs to be let go. ACL board do your job. The animals are the victims here!!

Austin from glen ellyn  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 10:08 AM

This is some real fly by night journalism here. Interview one side of the party and not the other, then again this is a small town paper so you cant expect much. Also the fake accounts from the board of directors side are way too obvious


Posted: June 27th, 2014 9:32 AM


Barbara Becker from Chicago  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 8:57 AM

Instead of all this "gang style" pointing fingers at one person how about working harder to get more animals adopted out to good homes INSTEAD of killing them because they are in the shelter too long. How bout that one Dr Eisenlohr???? Lazy is lazy no matter where you work! Enough!!!!

Dawn from Oak Park, IL  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 8:56 AM

I agree, James. Any breed can be dangerous. We adopted a pit mix from ACL in December and she is the sweetest, most gentle dog in the world -she has many fans (both canine and human pals at the dog park)!


Posted: June 27th, 2014 8:02 AM

Pit Bulls need special training and special owners? Where are you getting your information? They're fine unless you lock them in a basement, beat them and force them to fight. Ignorance at it's finest.

Concerned Pet Owner from Oak Park  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 7:58 AM

We have donated to the ACL for many years, but over the last ten months I have noticed more Pit Bulls up for adoption. We have stopped donating because they seem to be catering to a specific breed. It takes a special person to handle a Pit Bull and lots of obedience training. We got our Collie for Chicago Animal Control and she is a wonderful pooch after going through the Lyons Township dog obedience training. The ACL has become breed specific and does not serve our needs.

Don Anderson from Oak Park IL  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 7:51 AM

It would seem the ACL is a "no win" shelter. No matter who runs it, no matter how they run it... people we be aggressively upset. It would seem that it is not just the cats and dogs that are feral around the ACL.

Julie from Chicago  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 7:43 AM

This extreme "no-kill" movement will finally come to rest after the lawsuits start. It is already happening around the country. Unfortunately the reputations of many shelters are damaged during the process. These extreme voice of this movement are so interested in the "now" that they forget the big picture. It will take years for the damage to be undone and for people to start trusting the shelters again.

Sue in RF from River Forest  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 7:31 AM

I support Dr. Eisenlohr and trust her expertise in the difficult decision to euthanize an animal. The ACL is losing its reputation as a safe, trustworthy place to adopt an animal - the Board should pay attention.

Glynis Kinnan from Oak Park  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 7:15 AM

There should be open dialogue about the tragedy of too many unwanted companion animals and what the most humane ways of intervening in the problem are. Declarations of "no kill" sidestep the problem and serve human egos, not animals. The board needs to give fair hearing to all stake-holders, and Robson needs to open her mind as well as her door and more humbly acknowledge that others have wisdom and compassion too.

Glynis Kinnan from Oak Park  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 7:07 AM

We should grant that everyone involved in this conflict cares about animals, but we must acknowledge that people evaluate suffering differently. Life in a cage for an intelligent, social creature strikes many humane people as unacceptably cruel, while others deem such an existence preferable to death. Then there is the issue of numbers versus finite resources. Regardless of ACL's policy, animals are being euthanized by the millions. Thus, an animal saved here is an animal or more killed there.

Sarah lauch from Chicago  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 1:44 AM

Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. This is laughable. Have any of you stepped foot into Chicago animal care and control??????! Wow. Talk about a reality check. In 2007 when I first started volunteering, Kira was the one at the front desk screening adopters...she did a great job. A few years later, she was calling me to come get bottle babies and get them to rescue. She gives a shiz and doesn't adhere to old school ways. Get over it. She does an amazing job. People that don't believe in what she is doing....

Former Employee from Chicago  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 1:30 AM

To question the professionalism, dedication or compassion of Dr. Eisenlohr, or any member of the clinic staff, is an indication that you have absolutely no experience with them. I had the privilege of working with this amazing group of people and can say without a doubt that the welfare of the animals always comes first. Anyone who has any real experience with them can confirm this to be true.

I'm a volunteer too  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 12:49 AM

The fact that this has come to press shows something is wrong at ACL. I have noticed it as a volunteer and from what I have seen since Kira came on board. While she is a nice person, her leadership is making things really bad for staff and the animals. Why are cats being housed in cages by themselves for months on end? Why are you bring in FIV cats? Why are dogs who have attacked children available for adoption?

Employee 2  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 12:44 AM

Kira stop commenting on her trying to prop yourself up! It's pathetic! Anyone who knows you can see right through it.

Volunteer That Likes The Changes! from Oak Park  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 12:38 AM

As a LONG time volunteer and donor to the ACL I'd like to say that the recent changes that have been made have IMPROVED the shelter immensely. For years there was no real leadership at the shelter and it was not run as a rescue. Many of the paid staff were lazy and had no rescue mentality. The new Director is a RESCUER and a professional and it sounds to me like the staff got away with murder (literally- they euthanized way too many animals that shouldn't have been). Keep up the good work!

Employee 2 from Oak Park  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 12:34 AM

There are no staff members, ZERO, standing behind Kira. Some might be sitting on the fence not saying anything, but there is not one who is standing firmly behind her. I know this because I work there. Hopefully soon the board will hear out those who have raised objections, instead of ignoring them and threatening them as they have done so far. Hopefully they will remove Kira and the damage she had done will not be permanent.

Stop the blatant lies people!  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 12:25 AM

All these comments attacking Ms. Robson are complete lies, except for the fact that she has made changes and they are for the better at ACL! I am a donor and volunteer. There are plenty of staff, volunteers and board members behind her. This forum has gotten out of control and I hope anyone questioning Ms. Robson's integrity will stop in at ACL, meet her and take a tour of the facility.

Occasional ACL Volunteer from Los Altos Hills / Oak Park  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 12:23 AM

To have 30 people from a small organization come forward is itself a strong statement. Where is the ACL board on all of this? Any community-service organization should embrace feedback, not threaten to limit time and intimidate with videotape. The board's next action will be revealing about ACL's professed "open door" policy: Will it circle the wagons or be transparent in its review?


Posted: June 27th, 2014 12:15 AM

STOP calling the dog in question "violent"! He passed the temperament test and volunteers handle him everyday! He plays with other dogs regularly! He has an overzealous puppy personality and he's strong, but he is in NO WAY VIOLENT! Your accusations regarding this dog are erroneous and completely misplaced!

Occasional ACL Volunteer from Los Altos Hills / Oak Park  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 12:11 AM

Sadly, "no kill" is no gift if it means a long, lonely, caged life. Successful "no kill" is not long-term warehousing. Minimally, it requires partnering with foster families, rescue groups, volunteers, professional trainers, and outside veterinarians to expand the reach of the physical facility, all with the goal of better outcomes for more animals. What are ACL policies in these areas? What relationships has new management created? Have ACL ptnrs increased or decreased under current mgmt?

ACC Volunteer from Chicago  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 12:06 AM

I have known Kira when she worked at CACC and also Jessica, the new Canine Manager and let me tell you the 2 of them are in no way fit to run a shelter. Jess has no people skills, and Kira is ruthless and will stop at nothing to get her way, no matter how many animals or people it hurts. I feel bad for all those at ACL who now have to deal with them.

Voice from Oak Park  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 12:00 AM

I have been a regular donor to ACL for the past decade. I have donated to date well into the six figures. But looking at what ACL has become over the last 6 months, I will not give another dime as long as Kira is at the helm. There is no way I can support the direction she is attempting to take the shelter in. I hope the board will read this article and finally take action

Change from River Forest  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 11:56 PM

It is time the board takes action and removes Kira. She has caused nothing but trouble since she started and has driven away some of the most dedicated and experienced staff members and volunteers. Her leadership has led to the endangerment of the community. And let it be said, she is not from this community. She does not understand it nor does she care about it. All that matters to her is dollars and cents, Well done to those who spoke out! It's time for her to go!

Volunteer 2 from Forest Park  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 11:51 PM

I too have seen the changes that have taken place at ACL since Kira came on board and let me tell you they have not been for the better. We now have dog avaialable who have attacked children, staff morale at an all time low, and long time volunteers who are given zero respect. Kira wants to turn ACL into her version of PAWs, and that means getting rid of all the long term staff and volunteers. She respects no one and will try and destroy anyone who gets in her way.

Donna from Oak Park  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 11:47 PM

Okay people, stop the pissing contest, put on your big boy/big girl pants, and work this out! I know people are unhappy; change is tough. But who will suffer the most? The animals who are at your mercy. Do you think people reading the article and comments -- who don' t know the staff and volunteers, and how caring and compassionate they are -- will want to adopt from ACL? I wouldn't! I'm not taking sides. Please work things out and get back to the mission.

Employee 2 from Oak Park  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 11:44 PM

No one on staff is behind her. Many are really concerned in the direction the organization is going as unsafe cats and dogs are being put up for adoption. In addition to this, staff are poorly treated and given no respect by the ED or shelter manager. In fact new managers, hired to replace those who resigned due to Kira's lack of leadership, are being paid more than twice that of those who have been there for 5 years. And these new managers are friends of Kira's from PAWs.

Employee 2 from Oak Park  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 11:40 PM

First off, I want to say everything past and current staff have said in these comments are 100% true. I can not think of a single colleague who is supportive of Kira's leadership. She is damaging ACL's standing in the community as well as the working conditions of the staff. I know many of you are passionate about animals, but until you work in animal welfare you really are not able to fully understand things such as euthanasia. It is obvious Kira has her cronies out trying to put in a good word

Emma from Oak park  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 11:07 PM

@longtime volunteer from RF: You are completely false with your accusations. The vet is not only the most hard working person I know, but she has been a vet for over 25 years and has NEVER been accused of unsafe practice. The volunteers are very rarely allowed in the clinic (where the vet works) so you must not actually know from "firsthand". You can't just accuse people of terrible things when you don't even know if what you're saying is true. Thanks

Friend of the staff from Oak park   

Posted: June 26th, 2014 10:52 PM

@JD from oak park continued: there are so many other dogs out there that need ACL's help in finding a home. So take your idiotic opinions away from oak park and don't speak about the staff when you have no idea how much love they have for animals and how much they are dealing with on a day to day basis. The staff is amazing and Kira is only poisoning the brilliance that the ACL staff has to offer.%uFFFD

Friend of the staff from Oak park   

Posted: June 26th, 2014 10:50 PM

@JD from oak park: mature adults trying to do the best they can to help animals get adopted and find love, even while under such bad management. Don't twist Dr.Mary's words about the issue of euthanizing animals. She is not suggesting that the shelter simply kill semi-dangerous dogs so there would be room for a new dog; she is suggesting that instead of housing a violent dog who has not been able to be adopted for 5 months because it is too dangerous, it should be euthanized because there are so

Friend of the staff from Oak Park   

Posted: June 26th, 2014 10:48 PM

@JD from oak park: I have so many issues with what you said. If you are embarrassed about living in op, then be my guest and move. How dare you call the staff at ACL "self centered employees who can't grow up". These employees dedicate so much of their time to help better the lives of so many animals. If you consider that self centered than I suggest you stop smoking whatever drug you are on. These employees are in no way "idiots wanting to kill more dogs". They are respectable, kindhearted, mat


Posted: June 26th, 2014 10:35 PM

RE: LV RF you've seen first hand how ACL vet is lazy and not practice safe medicine. How is that? If you're aware of this so called bad practice, have you brought it to the appropriate persons attention? Please tell.....


Posted: June 26th, 2014 10:33 PM

@longtime volunteer from RF. How much are you being paid for spewing the lies that you post?

ACL Volunteer  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 10:14 PM

Last comment from me.Need to rest up before I volunteer at ACL tomorrow:)When I am at ACL, the adoption center staff are pleasant, smiling, working together, thanking volunteers, music is playing during cleaning, cats are purring and playing, dogs are getting out for long walks, and romping playfully with other dogs in the play area.We pass out pb filled Kongs, squeaky toys, refresh water and make sure all animals have a soft, cozy bed.These animals have it even better than my own!

Longtime Volunteer from RF  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 10:10 PM

The former ED hardly did anything... just let the employees at ACL do what they want when they want. The head veterinarian is not only lazy but does not even practice safe medicine from what I have seen first hand. Kira would be better off replacing such an extreme vet for a more compassionate and understanding person who truly recognizes shelter work and isn't so quick to euthanize perfectly healthy dogs who just need some extra time to find a home.

ACL Volunteer  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 10:05 PM

FE: I know that I have more experience than you because a true animal welfare professional would never act in your manner on a public forum such as this.Just own up to the fact that you are archaic in your way of thinking regarding animal welfare.I get it, change makes people nervous.It's understandable, but the answer is not to euthanize more animals. Clearly,you and your cronies are intimidated by Ms. Robson's wealth of experience and progressive life saving vision!You can stop talking now.

Former Employee  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 10:02 PM

My apologies to those outstanding volunteers at ACL because there are many. The time and love that you give is incredible. I was not referring to all of the volunteers....just the ones that do not know what they are talking about. On that note...just because someone has 20 years experience at something, doesn't mean that they are any good at it.

Supportive in OP  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 9:49 PM

I am a volunteer at ACL, have been for 3 years. I know all of the parties listed above, EVERYTHING that is being said from staff is 100% TRUE. Dr. Eisenlohr is genuine & will do anything to help an animal. Robson on the other hand is NOT telling the truth. Anytime there has been a mess up, Robson throws whoever she can under the bus. She can never deal with her actions/decisions herself. She always finds a "victim". I hope ACL gets its credibility back

Former Employee  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 9:45 PM

In addition "ACL Volunteer"...the more you write the more ignorant you sound. How can you possibly make assumptions about someone that you know absolutely nothing about? Just because you have worked in animal welfare for over 20 years...does not mean you have any clue as to what has gone on or is going on behind the scenes at ACL. Just stop talking....

Former Employee  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 9:36 PM

ACL do you have any idea that you have more years of experience in animal welfare than I do? Are you making an ignorant assumption? Clearly ACL is not doing great. I think we can all see that.

former employee too  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 9:36 PM

from what I remember from working in the clinic, the vet was only good at making sandwiches & fancy coffee. after leaving, I've volunteered & worked at other spay/neuter clinics in the area. If the vet & clinic staff were to see the amount of actual good work being done, they'd be ashamed of themselves at the lack of work they're actually doing


Posted: June 26th, 2014 9:27 PM

@scared, quit acting like dogs are people. They are not! Euthanizing sick or dangerous animals is not the same as killing. Also, No Kill Shelters is a B.S. term. They usually ship them somewhere else to do their "dirty work."

rescue worker from Chicago   

Posted: June 26th, 2014 9:24 PM

Wow ACL doesn't know what it is saying. As for the comments saying she should go back where she came from, you do realize she was employed at the largest no kill AND largest high kill and both consider it a travesty that she is gone. She took over to better the lives of your dogs and by this attitude it is clear she was needed. Great minds become opposed, small minds are not.

ACL Volunteer  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 9:23 PM

To the "Former Employee": Thank goodness you are a former employee at ACL as someone with your horrifically rude attitude has no business working for a nonprofit animal shelter supported by volunteers! I actually do know what goes on behind the scenes because I have 20 years more experience than you in animal welfare and have worked as a vet tech and manager. Take your disgruntled NON teamwork attitude to another town! ACL isdoing great!

Lucy from Oak Park  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 9:21 PM

To Scared from Oak Park: Dr.Eisenlohr is the definition of compassion and professionalism. Her care for the animals at ACL and for the clinic patients is extraordinary. I have never dealt with a better veterinarian. She is also an adult. She knows that there are many outcomes worse than a peaceful, gentle release through euthanasia. She has witnessed it all.


Posted: June 26th, 2014 9:15 PM

So Robson threw the staff under the bus for failing to warn the family of cats that the dog was aggressive. Sounds like a lousy administrator to me.

Former Employee  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 9:13 PM

The volunteer that posted that the "Former ED gave no leadership or direction." Do you have any clue what you are talking about? You are not an employee so how would you have any idea of how the employees were directed? You don't. Your comment is hilarious!!!

scared from oak park  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 9:11 PM

I often recommended & used ACL's clinic. After reading Dr. Mary Eisenlohr's comments, I don't know if I can trust having someone who supports killing animals to treat my dogs or my friends/family member's dogs

Former Employee  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 9:05 PM

As a think you know what goes on day to day. You have absolutely no clue. I don't care what you "THINK" you know goes on behind the scenes. .....because if you think you know, you are sorely mistaken. I don't even know where to begin. As for the board members that rarely set foot in the place....same situation. I guess this wouldn't be news if everything was running as it should would it. I'm sure the damage control is..."Don't worry, it'll blow over."

JC from Chicago  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 9:00 PM

Neighbor-Chicago would gladly take her back but it sounds like the animals in Oak Park could really use the help!

Another interested party from Oak Park  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 8:59 PM

Ms. Robson says that the ACL Board of Directors directed her to reduce the number of animals euthanized at ACL. A better instruction would have been to increase the number of adoptions for adoptable animals.

bc from chicago  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 8:58 PM

@Jim-can't speak for all no-kill shelters but I volunteer for a major no kill group in Chicago. they don't just leave dogs/cats in cages to "lose their minds". they provide enrichment like training, playgroups, runs, etc. they are also placed in foster homes so more info can be obtained & DISCLOSED to future adopters. rescue groups try the best they can with what they have. having a media backlash like this only hurts the animals by discouraging folks from choosing adoption. way to go staff

Jim from Oak Park  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 8:46 PM

I'm not suggesting animals be euthanized for space, but for unadoptability. What do those great no-kill shelters in bigger towns do with unadoptable animals? Let the animals slowly lose their minds confined to a cage for years?

Diane Menza from Oak Park  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 8:46 PM

part 2. the meeting. She is assisting the Board with employee policies and procedures. Finally, Kira Robson did not attempt to blame the Board - she continues to work with the Board of ACL to support our objectives.

Diane Menza from Oak Park  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 8:40 PM

I am the Secretary to the Board of Directors of ACL -To correct just one of the many misstatements made in this article, I requested that we record the meeting, to ensure that all comments were included in the minutes - this is not an unusual practice. Also, the group was asked to come to our regularly scheduled Board meeting at the Shelter. They declined and chose to meet elsewhere that same night. Additionally, although our HR attorney is talented, she was not asked to videotape the

A neighbor  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 8:40 PM

Where is the Board that should help keep ACL going the right direction. If one manager causes this many problems, its time to look elsewhere. Can she go back to PAWS or Chicago Animal Control? Sounds like they'd take her.

former volunteer from Chicago  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 8:34 PM

I used to love to volunteer at ACL. I no longer do so because I've noticed the changes the group has talked about. Please do the right thing and get ACL back on track. Current management must go.

JC from Chicago from Chicago  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 8:32 PM

I had the opportunity to work with Kira for over 5yrs and I had nothing but the OPPOSITE experience then what is being said here. I know that whatever Kira is doing at ACL is to benefit the animals. She is the reason I decided to stay in this field. Sounds like there isn't much going on in Oak Park...I invite the 30+ to come to Chicago and see the big picture!

Longtime Volunteer from RF  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 8:29 PM

I've been volunteering with ACL for ten years now. The shelter has needed a lot of help and I have noticed employees mainly needing guidance and direction. The former ED did not give leadership and direction employees needed and therefore employees just did what they wanted. Now with Kira at the helm employees are upset by simple protocols. It is a shame as Kira is well liked by volunteers and employees who truly understand animal welfare. I stand behind Kira and the ACL's next steps forward.


Posted: June 26th, 2014 8:24 PM

Kira has been a breath of fresh air. It sounds like things were messed up prior to her coming on board and she is trying to put the shelter back on the right track. Staff who can't get on board should just get off the ride. I'm all for change for ACL and the animals.

JD from OP  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 8:23 PM

It is wrong and freaking embarrassing actually. Like why can't OP get its sh*t together, oh wait it is closed minded people and self centered employees who can't grow up. Bigger towns than OP have no kill shelters run probably how Ms. Robson is wanting ACL to run.

JD from OP  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 8:20 PM

@Jim yes you are right but have you ever been to ACL, it is a small shelter. So euthanizing a dog due to space is actually disgusting. Go to an animal control and yes, I get it - it is cruel but this is a small nonprofit who has 11 dogs for adoption and maybe 11 in intake. So for a shelter of this size to not be no kill is truly wrong.

Volunteer at ACL  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 8:19 PM

Staff who are complaining are completely misleading the public! ACL is a clean shelter, animals are cared for with love and compassion, and I know many people who have adopted recently and have been thrilled! As for the executive director:she is amazing!She believes in the animals and doesn't turn her back on them, even getting one shy dog into agility classes to boost the dog's confidence and it worked!The dog was adopted to a loving home! Robson goes the extra mile because she's the real deal!

Stephanie Navarro from Riverside  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 8:13 PM

@ Safe dogs are good from River Forest. Oh I'm sorry it's not diverse because now we have pitbulls/pit mixes. But NO ONE had an issue when it was little fru fru dogs in every kennel at the shelter. If everyone thinks it's so easy to do Kira's job then take it, you probably wouldn't last a second... I know I wouldn't. I'm sure things that are not "ideal" to everyone happen at EVERY shelter not just ACL. I forget how close minded people can be...

Jim from Oak Park  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 8:11 PM

No-kill sounds wonderful, until you see the reality: unadoptable animals in cages for the rest of their lives, dying by inches (unless a shelter is unethical enough to trick people into adopting extremely marginal or dangerous animals).(

Animal Care League Volunteer from North Riverside  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 8:09 PM

JD from OP you are dead on! I say it constantly that the people returning the animals is the problem. They adopt shelter pets expecting them to be PERFECT! Just like humans they have a past and it affects them. People present themselves well and act like they're willing to do whatever for the adoptive pet, and then it's not so easy, they give up, and return the dog like it's a piece of merchandise. That is NOT Kira's fault. People need to really THINK if they're ready for a pet!

Volunteer at ACL  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 8:08 PM

As a volunteer at ACL who has handled the pit bull in question, I can say that he has not one ounce of aggression in him. He is energetic and strong, playful and loving! Anyone who doesn't believe these animals deserve a chance should get out of animal welfare! Having been employed at a major rescue, I can tell you it is hard work and takes a lot of heart, passion and you HAVE to be open to change in order to move with the times and save more lives! Euthanasia is the lazy & heartless way out!

Safe dogs are good from River Forest  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 8:07 PM

Stephanie N. not diversity, look at all the cages. Kira- tell the truth. ACL was only without an ED for 5 months. Nice job throwing the Board under the bus too. Open door, closed mind.

Stephanie Navarro from Riverside  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 8:03 PM

Part III: Volunteering at ACL is rewarding and at the end of they day it is ALL ABOUT THE ANIMALS! I'm not concerned with petty drama or comments. It is so sad that this one sided article came out and at the end of the day it's only going to hurt the animals and adoptions in the long run and that is PLAIN WRONG! The dog being referenced as being dangerous I know personally and he has made TREMENDOUS progress. We should give up on people how quickly these people want to give up on the dogs!

JD from OP  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 8:01 PM

So if I am reading this right, employees are mad about leadership changing to want to reduce killing dogs and are highlighting dogs being returned and incidents that happen at shelters/with animals all the time. Hmm. Sounds nice Oak Park. I am pretty embarrassed to live here because of the idiots wanting to kill more dogs and sensationalizing two out of hundreds of dogs who have had issues. Also, maybe it is time to analyze the a'holes returning animals and if OP is just full of insensitive ppl

ACL Volunteer  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 8:01 PM

I am a volunteer at ACL and have not seen anything the employees are complaining about. I have been involved in animal welfare for 20 years, either as a volunteer or employed, and can attest that Ms. Robson is doing an excellent job to save the lives of homeless cats and dogs, as well as educate and start programs to help underserved communities. She is a consummate professional and has the best interest of the animals, adopters, staff and volunteers in mind at all times.

Stephanie Navarro from Riverside  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 8:00 PM

Part II: I may not know everything that goes on as a volunteer, but I do know that the ACL really tries to give every dog a chance. Let me ask you something... if a dog nips at a child accidentally while playing and the parent left the kid to be babysat by the dog... should the dog never have a chance at happiness? Gimme a break! In that kind of situation the shelter does the right thing by changing the type of home to adult only. It's so easy for these "concerned citizens" to be judgmental!

A Rat Is a Pig Is a Dog Is a Boy from Oak Park  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 7:57 PM

For cryin out loud, we're talking about DOGS here people! DOGS, not people. If a dog is violent, put it down so people get hurt. If you're running out of space, put down the dogs no one will ever adopt. It's not exactly rocket science. Sheesh!

Stephanie Navarro from Riverside  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 7:56 PM

Part I: I'm a committed volunteer at the ACL and I must say that I am absolutely SICKENED that the ACL staff has taken this to the press. Whatever your issues are... resolve them like an adult. Let's be honest... most people are ignorant and see dangerous dogs being adopted out and they're ignorant and will associate it with pitbulls. Whether Kira is your cup of tea or not is your problem... she has brought diversity in the types of dogs we have at the shelter and that's a wonderful thing!

seriously?!?! from Chicago  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 7:40 PM

perhaps the employees should check out I think it's admirable that Kira is trying to help these animals. Apparently the staff would prefer they be killed instead.


Posted: June 26th, 2014 7:33 PM

I'd love for each of you angry anti ACL leadership folks to work a day in Kira's shoes or just go clean up poop or make decisions about an animals life, or which animal to save over another. Oh, another dog just got dumped and you don't have room but it is sweet as hell, what now? You have no idea the stress of a shelter on HUMANS too. Try it for a day, I doubt you would last. Anytime I have been to ACL the employees minus Kira are old, grouchy and outdated. Poor Kira has an uphill battle.

GetReal from Chicago  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 7:27 PM

You all seriously live in a very small animal welfare bubble. What Kira is doing seems PROGRESSIVE. It looks like too many dogs were killed and she is working toward a no-kill model which is admirable. People hate change, especially old and uneducated employees. Get a grip, ACL is not inhumane, go to your local government run facility that euthanizes hundreds of dogs a day and houses 500+ animals who never get to go outside unless it is to be euthanized or MAYBE rescued. Get out of your bubble.

Ron from Oak Park  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 7:26 PM

If you have a car that has steering issues that cause it to crash and sell it without informing the new buyer of the problem, you are breaking the law. If the current ACL let a family adopt a dog that just killed the cat from the family that recently returned the dog without being told this, that's OK?? NO! Keep a pitbull in a cage for 5 months and it will lose it's mind while 6 dogs waiting for that same cage have been euthanized.U are killing more dogs! New Manager is destroying ACL. OK? NO!

Barbara from Chicago  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 7:23 PM

These are ridulous statments. Get back to work people . Robson is a animal advocate and would never cause harm to any human or animal. Get back to work and if you are so unhappy give notice!!!!!!!! If U were in corp America u would be GONE !!! you would be GONE!!!

Former Employee from Riverside  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 7:19 PM

What ACL has become is an unbelieveable disgrace to the animal welfare community.

Take this seriously  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 7:05 PM

When a group of employees takes this kind of action, it takes a lot of courage and needs to be taken seriously. This is not about the dogs, or individual experiences with adoption or euthanization. Its about having a toxic director come in from the outside, destroy a formerly positive workplace and change it into dysfunction, ill will and chaos. THE SAME THING IS HAPPENING AT VILLAGE HALL. Village staff are equally distressed but are either too scared to take action or have already quit.

Marie Perkins from Oak Park  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 6:39 PM

Marci deemed her dangerous. I never saw her picture up for adoption so I am assuming that that precious, gentle dog was put down. I will never support that place because of that vile killer. On top of that, she used glue traps to catch mice which I was appalled to see. There is nothing more cruel than to see an animal suffer in a glue trap. Goes against their mission statement. Marci is the reason that place went down hill. I don't know if she still works there, but anyone is better than her.

Neighbor from Oak Park  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 6:30 PM

call back, but to no avail. Things felt rather disorganized. I have had great experiences adopting from ACL in the past and would have recently if the right dog had been there for our needs, although there were wonderful dogs there then also. Hope this can be fixed. The suburban shelter I did adopt from seemed much more professional and organized than ACL was earlier this year. Not like it used to be. The Board sounds rigid and inflexible in the article...better ways to negotiate than that.

Marie Perkins from Oak Park  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 6:30 PM

Pt. 2, This dog never once growled or tried to bite the officer or me. She was kept to see if her owner (abuser) would call and never did. I tried to find a home for her (my apt. doesn't allow dogs) So I took her to ACL. She was an angel in the car. Enjoyed looking out the window and was perfectly behaved. I promised that dog that I would not let anything happen to her. I gave her to Marci and because she semi growled when Marci opened her mouth to check her teeth, (after all that she went thru)

Marie Perkins from Oak Park  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 6:26 PM

I adopted my two cats from ACL back in 2008 and they are the most wonderful cats. However, I am fed up and disgusted and furious with ACL, in particular, with someone named Marci. I brought a dog in that I found where I worked (who was clearly chained outside as evidenced by the red mark around her neck). This dog looked like she was just ready to lay down and die. When I called animal control, the dog just let them put the collar around her neck and she just went quietly into the squad car.

Neighbor from Oak Park  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 6:21 PM

I have been disappointed with ACL earlier this year for several reasons and don't know what parties are to blame, but it has caused me to donate to other shelters, large donation in memory of a beloved dog who died. While staff was friendly and helpful when I went into the shelter, several calls were not returned on various issues related to volunteering-even when I went to find someone to talk to the right person about a specific issue only to be told person was in a meeting, would

Another Interested Party from Oak Park  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 6:09 PM

The article mentions Jane Barker and Ellen Milad. I know both of them. Jane is a retired judge, and Ellen is now an RN in oncology at Loyola who spent part of last year in Africa working with people with no access to medical help. If they say something is wrong, you can take it to the bank.


Posted: June 26th, 2014 5:54 PM

A dog biting a child isn't a good reason to take a dog back to a shelter though. Evaluation of personality isn't a promise of future behavior. It is on YOU the pet owner to have your dog properly trained once it leaves the rescue facility.

ACL Elmployee  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 5:54 PM

Interested party, ACL no longer takes in dogs from out of state transports. This is yet another poor decision of the current Executive Director. This has led to there being little variety among the dogs at the shelter. Dogs who would normally have failed there evaluation, and dogs that have been returned for biting children are being put up for adoption.

ACL Employee from Oak Park  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 5:51 PM

There used to be a family atmosphere at ACL, but that has been destroyed by Kira's leadership and replace with a cold, corporate feeling. When employees have made concerns known to her she has called them unprofessional and said they are not team players. Again, the whole "open door policy" is just pure nonsense. Employees and long time volunteers are getting fed up with the lack of respect and the lack of concern for the community as well as the animals. I hope the Board will act and remove her

Interested party  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 5:47 PM

My understanding is that most of these animals are flown to OP from other states; that we are basically importing our homeless dog population. Maybe we could exercise more caution and only take animals which look like good candidates for adoption to begin with.

ACL Elmployee from Oak Park  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 5:45 PM

Glad to see the truth being told. There is a night at day difference at ACL since Kira started in November. In her interview, she is striaght up lying. In the past month two dogs that have bitten children on more than one occasion have been put up for adoption. She claims to have an open door policy but yet she said at a staff meeting if you disagree with her decisions that we should turn in our letters of resignation.

Thrilled w/our adoption -- from Chicago  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 5:44 PM

Part 2: Prior to this failed adoption, we had made donations to the shelter without so much as a thank you. We understand incompetent leadership at the top can trickle down to become low morality among the workers, but our experience is that the incompetence is not just at the top. The ACL needs a deep cleaning. We just adopted a wonderful dog from a shelter in Chicago and saw what a clean and organized shelter run by competent people actually looks like. Not ACL. Not. Even. Close.

Thrilled w/our adoption -- from Chicago  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 5:44 PM

Part 1: Congrats on your positive experience Happy pet owner from OP. You're probably the minority given the info in the article and our experiences. We recently adopted a dog from ACL that was later assessed by an animal behavior specialist as being at very high risk of biting someone. When we returned the dog and explained why, the ACL's own "animal behavior specialist" acted like it was our inadequacy rather than their inability to properly assess dogs.

Glynis Kinnan from Oak Park  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 5:41 PM

It is our society's shame that millions of healthy, wonderful dogs and cats are put to death each year because they have no homes. ACL is not to blame for this: puppy mills & breeders & those who buy from them & irresponsible guardians are. I believe that everyone at ACL cares about animals; my complaint is that Robson's attitude toward people is undermining the quality of life for ACL's animals and that, indeed, she is squandering her most valuable resource, the staff and volunteers.

Happy pet owner from Oak Park   

Posted: June 26th, 2014 4:48 PM

I am a little surprised at the comments. It is natural for former employees to gripe. Especially with new leadership. We adopted a pet before the change and one after the change and were very happy both times. As far as employees that are no longer there, wasn't one of them fired after being arrested?

Karen from Oak Park  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 4:36 PM

They are control freaks who have put down dogs they deemed "vicious". I personally know, it being a fact, of a breed recuse who made all the arrangements to get a dog and then on day of pickup told no, they have changed their mind. They also initially denied even having the dog. Why could the rescue not take it? One less dog for them to care for. Cold hearted control freaks who are to blame for any messes they have.


Posted: June 26th, 2014 3:50 PM

I don't have a problem with either the less euthanasia or trying to adopt out more questionable animals. Just be transparent about it and let the critics complain. That's their right. But other animal rescue orgs make these types of internal decisions all the time. I see nothing out of line from my experience in a breed-specific rescue operation. Stay focused on the animals and leave the drama behind.

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