Written by Pam DeFiglio, Patch.com
There was a sense of drama in the audience at Monday's Morton Grove village board meeting as about a dozen board members of Wright Way Animal Rescue waited quietly for the moment the board would vote on whether to pass the zoning clearances that would allow the shelter to locate at 5915 Lincoln Avenue.
Ever since a runaway school bus crashed into Wright Way's former building at 7136 W. Touhy, Niles, on Oct. 2, the rescue shelter has itself been in need of a permanent shelter. It has been operating out of temporary facilities in Skokie and Des Plaines.
"We're just anxious to get back to doing what we do, rescuing animals," said Executive Director Christy Anderson.
Early in the village board meeting, James and Janice Cha, Morton Grove residents and animal lovers who volunteer at another animal shelter, asked several questions about Wright Way's policies during a comment period. They included topics such as the age of puppies and kittens when they are separated from their mothers, whether the mothers are rescued, how Wright Way matches animals to humans and whether dogs that don't work out can be returned.
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Also, resident Jim Quinn took the podium to say the location wasn't right for Wright Way.
Wright Way Director Christy Anderson explained some of Wright Way's procedures to the board. While people can reserve a pet in advance, without making any payment, on Wright Way's website, an adoption counselor works with them to see if it's a good fit. There is no obligation for them to adopt that pet, she said.
Adoption should be a good fit between pet and person
The shelter also has post-adoption counselors, tips and classes to acclimate the pet to your home, she said.
For those animals which are not spayed or neutered when they're adopted out, Wright Way has the adopters sign a form saying they will have that procedure completed within 30 days, she said.
She said Wright Way takes a strong stand in favor of rescuing mother dogs, and does not adopt out puppies until they are eight weeks, as determined by veterinarians--even though the software on their website counts the animals as being one month old until they actually turn two months old, she said.
Returns accepted, and parking should be adequate, village says
In response to a question from Trustee Maria Toth, Anderson said Wright Way does take back pets who don't work out for adopters.
Nancy Radzevich, the village's economic development director, said the parking analysis the village performed showed Wright Way needed a maximum of 17 parking spaces but it has 20. She explained how that should be more than enough.
Trustee Shel Marcus praised the shelter but indicated he was going to vote against allowing it.
"Your facility and your name is known to the area as one of the better no-kill shelters around," he said. "That’s not the issue, my concern was the location and the size."
However, the other five trustees voted in favor of allowing the special use for Wright Way.
"Welcome to Morton Grove!" boomed Mayor Dan DiMaria as soon as the voting tally was complete, and the Wright way supporters clapped and let out a cheer.
After the vote was taken, Anderson said they thought it was going to pass, but they weren't certain.
"We're excited," she said, as board members around her chatted about what was to come next.