Chicago Dog Rescue Says Alderman ‘Strung Us Along' on Rezoning of Abandoned Liquor Store

A controversy is brewing involving popular Chicago animal shelter One Tail at a Time.

They want to expand to create a new space to prepare animals for adoption, but they've run into a roadblock in the Logan Square neighborhood.

Sugar is one of many pups at the shelter looking for a forever home.

All the dogs there have a story, and Heather Owen and her team try to give those stories a happy ending. She said the shelter only holds 10 dogs at a time.

"But we have over 150 in our care any day of the week," she said. "We expect to rescue over 1,000 animals this year."

To do that, they need an isolation center for sick and injured dogs who need to get better before adoption. She says they bought the property, which housed a liquor store years ago, on Dickens and Central Park. She said the group asked the alderman for rezoning.

"We purchased a property to make into a shelter for Chicago dogs that need a place to go," she said. "We needed a rezoning for the property so we approached Ald. (Robert) Maldonado over nine months ago."

Maldonado did not respond to repeated requests for comment from NBC 5 on Friday.

Owen said this week the alderman told the group he would not be rezoning the building.

Owen says it doesn't make sense.

"The alderman strung us along for over nine months and made us believe that if we were quiet and patient that we could get a fair chance," she said. "We didn’t get any chance."

NBC 5 spoke to the next door resident of the empty property--also a dog owner--who told us he had no problem with it and that the liquor store brought problems and police.

Kathryn Khankari is another neighbor.

"Anytime you’re in a neighborhood and see vacant properties it sends a certain message about the neighborhood," she said. "So if you’re able to sell, it goes a long way.

A Bucktown shelter on Wood is where the dogs ultimately go up for adoption.

"They need a place to go to decompress, start on medication and get their second chance," Owen said. "That’s what this building was supposed to be and without it we don’t have room to save more dogs from Chicago shelters."

For now, they’ve leased a small space on Western, but they need more.

"For us it’s a real important to purchase a place that we can call home and renovate and really set some roots down so we can help save more Chicago dogs," she said.

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