The Nerdery - Overnight Website Challenge

Chicago 2012, November 17-18

Safe Humane Chicago

Safe Humane Chicago is an alliance of non-traditional partners that recognize the connections between animal abuse and interpersonal violence and the benefits of the human-animal bond. We believe that providing the community with a variety of innovative, collaborative and hands-on programs focused on the welfare of animals will help reduce all forms of violence and create safer, more compassionate neighborhoods.

Safe Humane Chicago’s comprehensive model includes programs for children, including at-risk teenage boys; adults; law enforcement / criminal justice professionals; and abused and neglected companion animals, particularly dogs. Our focus is on four key areas that are essential to safe and humane communities: education, experience with animals, advocacy and second chances. We have built these components into each of our three flagship programs:

(1) Collaborative Justice programming has three integral pieces:

(a) "Court Case Dogs" -- abused animals associated with court cases -- are exercised, socialized and trained by volunteers and placed in good homes by partnering rescue groups. Before our program began in partnership with Chicago Animal Care &Control in January 2010, dogs associated with court cases were routinely euthanized when relinquished or after a guilty outcome in their owners’ court cases. These dogs often languished in their cages for months, even years. Now, because of the partnerships formed, volunteer commitment and funding engaged, SHC is able to help dogs who have “done the time but not the crime,” to shorten the time of their impoundment, and to help get them into adoptive homes.

(b) Volunteer Court Advocates follow and report on court cases involving animal abuse of all kinds and advocate for the victimized animals and people. This is a program that was implemented by the original D.A.W.G. organization, and the advocates are well-known as D.A.W.G. Court Advocates. It depends on extensive partnerships with government agencies and considerable volunteer commitment.

(c) Police, prosecutors and judges are trained about enforcing animal-related laws, effective sentencing and humanely treating animals trapped in the judicial system.

(2) Lifetime Bonds programming focuses on incarcerated teens who bond with, socialize, and train shelter dogs (including our Court Case Dogs) for adoption. In turn, they develop skills needed to re-enter the community and are offered internships with Safe Humane Chicago in a safe, compassionate environment. Community members' dogs (including therapy dogs) with their handlers provide the initial training of program participants. In addition, in separate dog-training classes in disadvantaged communities, youth develop skills with their own dogs to build positive relationships with companion animals.

(3) Youth Leaders for Safe Humane Chicago is an elective offered through the Chicago Public Schools, which trains high school students to give presentations on the humane treatment of animals to elementary school children in disadvantaged communities. Topics include the importance of compassion for both animals and people, how to be safe with dogs, why dog fighting and animal abuse are wrong, and how to set good examples. Youth Leaders also participate in other community outreach.

We implement these programs by engaging community members and organizations of all types, including a Safe Humane Ambassador Dog program in which community members and their dogs work with program participants on safe and humane interaction with dogs. We participate in events in neighborhoods, schools, Chicago Park District facilities, faith-based organizations and other community venues; and we help Chicago Animal Care & Control beyond our Court Case Dog program. We also consult with interested organizations from all over the United States.

What new functionality we are looking for

As it currently stands, our website has limited functionality and a lengthy process for increasing any functionality (due to the outdated and proprietary content management system and lack of expertise on our staff). Resources are being directed to maintain a clunky, lifeless and ineffective website that could otherwise be spent growing our already successful life-saving programs.

In addition, our website’s design is unclear and unfocused when our mission is actually quite direct and our programs strategic and focused. We fear that no potential donor or volunteer can tell from the scattered and outmoded homepage what it is that we do and how they could get involved. It’s unsophisticated and doesn’t “feel” trustworthy or credible. We need and want a clearly focused and DYNAMIC website! That’s who we are.

Functionality that could greatly streamline and enhance our organization’s efforts includes, but is not limited to, the following:

- An intuitive CMS (which would also allow board members and volunteers to help with maintenance)

- A dynamic homepage that has a stable and focused format/structure but allows for weekly updates and special-attention posts

- An accurate and easy navigation function

- Phone compatibility

- Cross-browser compatibility (and computer type: we’ve had problems with different browsers on Macs vs. PCs)

- Capability to upload and use media (easily) in site content (images, video, PDFs, etc.)

- A database of all website users with filter and report-generating capability (compatible with Microsoft Excel)

- Multiple calendar spaces for volunteers and Court Advocates

- Flexibility for adding reporting functions and forms for volunteers

- Flexibility in adding/changing donation opportunities using (at least for now) PayPal

- Optional: an online and editable “store”

- Capability or flexibility to add at a later time a dynamic forum

How the new functionality will help

A new website is crucial to fulfilling our mission because our website must convey who we are and what we do. It must be inspiring, educational, informative, focused, and dynamic. It must be user-friendly for the general public (animal lovers or not), volunteers and potential volunteers, program participants (including law enforcement and criminal justice professionals as well as young people), donors, media, board members, and other organizations interested in implementing Safe Humane programming. A new website is also a key element in our strategic plan to build a robust communications program that meets the needs of donors, grantors, and the media and uses local media to keep our messages and work before the public.

In contrast, our current website is almost a disaster for conveying what we do, how we do it, how we are moving forward and why we need an even larger pool of volunteers and a broader community for spreading safe, humane messages -- it's difficult to navigate, not easy to update (based on a proprietary content management system), unfocused and not engaging – and we need all of those functions working well. And to make matters worse, we currently have two websites, the primary and another,, where we mainly update Court Advocacy information, especially where we maintain a record of criminal case proceedings involving animals. And we have no consistent connections between these two sites and a Yahoo group for reaching out to certain volunteers or our social media presence on FaceBook and Twitter.

The increasing expectations of consumers, donors and the media for charities to be sophisticated in the use of the internet will continue as they become accustomed to the technologies introduced by corporate America. They will expect readily available and current information on-line 24/7. They expect instant responses to their donations, just as they expect an email receipt from a transaction. Some donors will expect us to keep them informed about what we’re doing but will resent excessive emails. And our volunteers need easily accessible information and places to report their many accomplishments. It almost goes without saying that technology and social media provide opportunities to market to volunteers and funders as well as to provide creative and still-unexplored avenues for getting the work of our organization done.

How our organization will use the technology

Who will use the technology

46 Messages from Supporters

2012-10-16 15:20:27 UTC
K Meyers

Safe Humane does amazing work - people are literally transformed by the programs! In elementary schools, kids learn about compassion for animals and how to be safe around dogs, and then get to interact with a dog. So many kids start off terrified, but by the end, they're petting the dogs and smiling. Incarcerated teens are learning to connect with other sentient beings and provide critical socialization and training for shelter dogs, and animals who have been horrifically abused learn to trust people and are adopted into wonderful homes! SHC needs a website to reflect their tireless efforts in Chicago and to attract new volunteers and donors!! Please choose Safe Humane Chicago!

2012-10-16 16:01:17 UTC
D Gadiel

For over three years I have volunteered with Safe Humane Chicago. I have watched their programs transform lives, both canine and human. From abused and neglected dogs at animal control, to school children who grow up amidst violence, to young incarcerated teens who've never known much tenderness or compassion, we have gone in, opened hearts and made a difference. The internet is such a vital part of getting the word out about our efforts. Your help, designing a new website, will bring more awareness to our work, enable us to reach more people and animals. By choosing Safe Humane Chicago you will reap the best reward ever, a better, safer community for everyone!

2012-10-16 17:03:43 UTC
L Stein

The impact Safe Humane Chicago has had on many lives, both human and animals, is indescribable. Each and every program is directed at the core of human compassion, something we must instill in each and every one of us. In order to make changes, not only for the survival of our communities but our future, our major focus is on the more fragile of our society, our children and animals.

To watch an abused animal be given a second chance, learn to forgive and trust again is beyond words. To watch elementary school children, many of whom have grown up surrounded by nothing but sacrifice and violence, but still eager to learn about animals and how important they are, is beyond heartwarming. To watch incarcerated young men, many all too familiar with gang activity and dog fighting and many all too indifferent about life and their future, find some meaning and purpose by merely hanging out with shelter dogs is so rewarding. Watching them slowly open up their hearts, watching them become comfortable enough to share their life stories with us and allowing us to get a glimpse of a real person in there who does care - that is the best prize of all and that is priceless!!

By choosing Safe Humane Chicago, you will allow us to have greater impact in changing indifference in our communities, one child and one dog at a time.

2012-10-16 17:07:02 UTC
D Disch

Safe Humane does amazing work! I was introduced to Safe Humane through a program at my place of employment. The people and programs of Safe Humane were so impressive, that I signed up to be a volunteer.

As a member of one of their dog/handler teams, my dog (a Safe Humane Ambassador Dog) and I visit elementary schools and other youth programs as part of an effort to educate elementary school students not only on how to be safe and humane with animals but about the dangers of dog fighting.

In addition, I have witnessed the incredible work Safe Humane is doing at Chicago Animal Care and Control, working with dogs who previously had no chance to experience any quality of life. It makes my heart smile when I read the weekly emails about how dogs I’ve worked with have transformed into happy dogs and were transferred to rescue groups and adopted! Their hard work and efforts are making a difference.

I can only imagine how much greater of an impact Safe Humane might have if they had the added advantage of a fantastic website to keep volunteers, supporters and interested people up to date with the fabulous things they are doing to make the community around us a better place!

2012-10-16 18:12:45 UTC
Angie D

Safe Humane Chicago group does PHENOMENAL work for the neediest animals in Chicagoland. I decided to volunteer at Chicago Animal Care & Control and my first orientation ended up being with Safe Humane Chicago and I never looked back. They are an inspiration to all. They started the Court Case Dogs program that gives dogs that have been abused and neglected a second chance, a chance to know how life is suppose to be like. If it wasn’t for Safe Humane Chicago, these dogs would never see the light of day after confiscated from their ‘owners.’ They would sit in a shelter cage in a very stressful environment until the trial was over, this could even been years. At that time, dogs were most likely euthanized.

They have trained volunteers that exercise and socialize these amazing dogs and let them just be dogs and give unconditional love. They work with other rescues as well to find these dogs foster homes to get them out of the shelter environment that is so hard on dogs. With the rescues they work to find them forever homes!

I have personally volunteered and worked with some of the Court Case Dogs that most people just hearing the words “court case” are terrified of. These dogs are so amazing, I can’t even find words to give them justice. To see a dog come in and be terrified of humans because all they have seen is horrific behavior from a human, and for them to trust and just be able to be a dog is a chilling experience.

Safe Humane Chicago and all the volunteers associated with Chicago Animal Care and Control are so passionate and dedicated to making a change for these dogs and all the dogs taken to shelters around Chicagoland and getting these animals the lives they deserve.

Please help them with their website, they are so deserving of this great opportunity!

2012-10-16 18:13:53 UTC
J. Feeney

I have volunteered with SHC for only about 10 months as part of the Court Case Dog program, but in that short time I have grown to love the organization more every day. What we need more than anything is for more people to simply know who we are, and the simple lack of resources means that we have to be very prolific in our use of finances since they are so limited. A great website would help us so much in helping with our cause.

As part of the Court Case Dog program, I help train, photograph, and promote the dogs who have come from abusive or neglectful pasts, and whose owners are imprisoned because of these or other crimes. In most cases these dogs are able to find new homes despite their pasts.

To me, it is so important for Organizations like SHC, and and programs like the Court Case Dog program to exist. There just are not enough organizations and programs like these to help educate the public.

2012-10-16 18:26:29 UTC
S Close

Safe Humane Chicago is a wonderful organization that benefits both children and animals. I adopted a very wonderful and loving dog from their court case dog program. Safe Humane Chicago helped start this program shortly after he was brought into Animal Care and Control, without this program he may of never made it out. Just thinking about this breaks my heart because he along with so many other dogs in there court case program deserve a chance to have a loving family and home. After adopting such an awesome dog, I felt that I and my dog(who is a Safe Humane Ambassador dog) needed to help volunteer for their programs. One program we have participated in was the youth leaders, this program helps children understand how to be safe around dogs, what to do if faced with an unfriendly dog, and what to do if they are aware of dog-fighting. Unfortunately, some children grow up in a neighborhood where humans and animals are being abused and objectified. This program brings a very positive change to their lives. Safe Humane Chicago needs lots of support to help bring this change to these children's lives. Having an updated website will help their supporters and soon to be supporters understand fully what all of their programs will do and have done for our community. Please help Safe Humane Chicago make Chicago a city where children and animals can live safely.

2012-10-16 18:27:24 UTC
Robyn Michaels

Lots of people can't adopt another pet, but they do have time to help pets in other ways. If the website were easier to use, if it was easier to contact us, link to us, or understand, we could get swo many volunteers that we miss otherwise.

2012-10-16 19:09:45 UTC
Marie S.

I personally had the opportunity to work with Safe Humane at my school a little over a year and a half ago. My students to this day still talk about how happy and informed they were when Safe Humane came to my school. Their faces lit up when they saw the rescue dogs and staff come inside the classroom. Safe Humane did not only have a positive impact, but built a relationship with my students and other staff members. They are such a vital and invaluable organization to have in our communities across the city. They really deserve to receive the extra help they need in order to continue their compassionate and positive impact in the community. Please give them a chance and help them to continue the outstanding work! Thanks!

2012-10-16 19:15:25 UTC
Marcia Kramer

Safe Humane Chicago has made a huge difference in the way dogs and people with dogs interact in Chicago. The need is overwhelming, especially in working with the courts and with at-risk teens whose experience with dogs may be limited to watching dogsfights or torturing an animals. Safe Humane Chicago's programs have allowed teens to experience the real bonding that takes place between people and animals and to work towards animal protection instead of violence. As a former Court Advocate, I can attest to the fact that upgrading this groups website will have a signifcant impact on their effectiveness.

2012-10-16 19:19:07 UTC
Chris G

I could not be any more glad to be involved with Safe Humane, and namely their Court Case dogs program. the work they do in so many Chicagoland schools, rescues, correction facilities, courts, etc is beyond words. the love and respect that this group has with the dogs (and for the volunteers and donors) is amazing. I was brought to their attention when I was adopted a court case dog (who is absolutely amazing I must say), and I've been sympathetic to their cause and efforts since then. I am grateful that I have begun my volunteer work with them as well. It's been extremely rewarding for the dogs, and just as rewarding for me personally.
SHC would not be able to do the awesome work they do without the help of volunteers, donors, supporters, etc.
From me working in the IT field, I know the vast importance of an organization, business, or individual having a great, eye-catching website. Safe Humane is definitely in need of a revamping of their current site. Knowing this, it's safe to say that a new site will directly bring attention from those unfamiliar with the group and what it does. that increased attention will likely mean increased funds, donations, volunteer efforts, etc. Obviously the dogs can't use the site, but they will absolutely thank you in one way or another!!

2012-10-16 19:28:00 UTC
K. Burchfield

I have been a dedicated volunteer for Safe Humane Chicago for over two years. As a criminologist, I am intrigued by their mission to create safe and humane communities for humans and animals alike. As a person, I am awed by their commitment to the animals that they directly advocate for, as well as the voice they provide for all animal victims in the the city of Chicago.

The SHC team are educated, innovative, compassionate and creative. They need a web presence that reflects that. I am grateful everyday that SHC has given me an opportunity to marry my academic interests with my personal passions. I hope that their participation in the Overnight Web Challenge will help to spread the message and the mission of Safe Humane Chicago by helping people around Chicago be able to learn more about what SHC does, why it does it, how it does it, and how to get involved.

2012-10-16 19:45:51 UTC
K Walton

My dog, Grizzly, and I have volunteered with Safe Humane Chicago for the past two years. We help out with the Youth Leaders program and go into schools to help teach children about kindness toward animals and how to be safe around dogs. A lot of these children have already been exposed to the cruelty of dog fighting and it is so important to reach them while they are still forming their own ideas of how animals fit into their lives. I have seen children who were clearly afraid of dogs, overcome their fear to pet Grizzly, and I have heard such incredibly uplifting comments from these children on why it is important to be kind to animals and what a wonderful part of their lives animals can be. The Youth Leaders program is just one of many that Safe Humane Chicago runs and I hope someday that Grizzly and I can participate in more of them!

2012-10-16 20:50:02 UTC
Denise Johnson

Too many times Chicago makes the news with yet another crime. People feel helpless and clueless about how they can make a change. Safe Humane Chicago offers many opportunities for people to get involved at a grass roots level, to reduce crime and hostility in our most troubled neighborhoods. Research has shown that learning humane practices in the treatment of animals translates directly into promoting responsible, interpersonal relationships...a foundation for safer neighborhoods.

I don't even know where to begin in explaining Safe Humane Chicago's programs. And their website, while packed with good information, also has a problem explaining it! I found out about this organization from an article in one of the Chicago papers several years ago. If I had relied on their website, I would have been overwhelmed before I started.

Please, please, consider helping them develop a great website which can explain Safe Humane's mission, and convince people that it is an important and worthy organization. By helping them develop a new and improved website, you will help them reach more people, who can in turn help make a difference in the lives of our children and the safety of our neighborhoods.

2012-10-16 21:54:13 UTC
Amy Breyer/Executive Director, Animal History Museum

I've known Cynthia for years and can personally attest to her relentless efforts to establish and maintain humane programs throughout the Chicagoland area (and beyond). Her court case dog programs, programs working with at-risk youth, inmates and others have improved and rehabilitated the lives of hundreds of needy and vulnerable individuals, as well as literally saved the lives of hundreds (thousands by now?) of dogs.

Cynthia is smart, tough and incredibly compassionate. You can look at the photos on Safe Humane's website and see scores of loyal volunteers - an unwritten testament to the fact that she is inspiring to work for - and with. Time spent here is time well-invested; I highly recommend Safe Humane Chicago!

2012-10-16 22:34:27 UTC
Carrie Nutter

Safe Humane Chicago definitely promotes the importance of the human-animal bond. This organization offers programs to enhance the lives of humans and animals. It is amazing to witness the transformations including observing children who are initially afraid to pet a dog secondary to only witnessing and/or experiencing negative interactions (e.g.-dogfigting, unsocialized animals, etc.) learning to interact positively with animals and requesting to interact with them, teens either apathetic to the plight of animals or on the path to violent encounters with animals learning positive reinforcement training techniques and bonding with their animals in new and amazing ways, teens and young adults reflecting on how the program has helped them by writing poetery and stories in which they describe the impact Safe Humane Chicago has had on their lives, high school students inspiring peers and younger students and gaining leadership skills by doing presentations on the importance of kindness to animals, community members gaining empowerment by advocating in court for respectful trreatment of animals and canines who have been in abusive and neglectful situations learning to trust humans again. The programs of Safe Humane Chicago encompass persons and animals from diverse backgrounds and it is this teamwork that is so beneficial.

2012-10-17 01:34:39 UTC

I have been volunteering my time working with the Court Case dogs for a few months now. I can't begin to tell you how rewarding it is! The dogs and volunteers have helped me more than I am helping them.
I come from an urban neighborhood where dogs are often tied up outside or left in the backyard for hours in the elements without much mental or physical exercise. I have been using my knowledge from working with Safe Humane to become a better owner for my dog and teaching some basic skills to people in my neighborhood. It is truly rewarding.
I look forward all week to the times that I can leave work and go to volunteer with the dogs. I have learned to practice patience, praise and pure joy from working with these wonderful animals.
Please pick this organization so they can obtain a website to reach out o more people in order to save our neighborhoods and our beloved dogs!

2012-10-17 02:51:53 UTC
Elaine W.

I am a DAWG Court Advocate with Safe Humane Chicago. I've had the priviledge to advocate for abused animals and occasionally their guardians. One case in particular has stuck with me because the guardian whose beloved dog was senselessly killed was amazed that a court advocate existed to attend each and every court date to advocate on behalf of her and her dog. The guardian continually thanked me every time we saw one another in court and admitted that she had no idea that Safe Humane's court case program existed. Safe Humane desperately needs a new website that will not only attract new advocates, but one that will also let the world know we are here to advocate on behalf of all helpless animals and their guardians when they really need us. Please choose Safe Humane so that we can reach more people who would volunteer for this wonderful organization.

2012-10-17 03:08:18 UTC
A. Martin

Born and raised in the Chicago area as a daughter of 2 veterinarians, I have been exposed to both good and bad stories of pet owners. It was painful knowing how many many people not only don't know how to care for their pets but how to treat animals in general. Because of this, not only did I work at the family animal hospital, but I also volunteered at numerous shelters plus worked at other animal hospitals as means to educate current pet owners and take part in educating prospective pet owners and the general public. However, I always felt defeated after my shifts because every day was an endless cycle. I always felt like something more has to be done in the community to shift people's way of thinking.

I found out about SHC when I began following an animal cruelty case of a neighbor. An acquaintance recommended I contact SHC as a way to get directly involved in the case. I was absolutely amazed that I never knew of them until then. When I googled SHC and found all of this info, it was like a lightbulb turned on in my head. I thought "this is a genius organization!". To get directly involved with court cases by not only going to court but also to make sure the pets ultimately are put in good homes seemed like the most productive way to educate the community on animal treatment. Of all the orgs where I volunteered, SHC just make sense and truly has the mission to make a difference. They have the heart and determination to end such a vicious cycle of animal cruelty.

2012-10-17 04:28:27 UTC
Kim Boggs

I am a Safe Humane Chicago volunteer and board member and am so excited about this opportunity. We can do so much more with an improved website. We end up relying on Facebook posts and events because no one finds our website very user-friendly. Not all of our supporters use Facebook. We need to better organize, communicate and track our volunteer opportunities and other opportunities to support us and get involved(donations, wish lists, social media campaigns, etc.) I became aware of Safe Humane Chicago almost 7 years ago and have been involved ever since. We have great videos and pictures and would love to better showcase them on our own website. Join us - the Nerdery can help us create safe, humane communities (and make some tails wag) by adding some functionality and pizzazz to our website!

2012-10-17 14:00:05 UTC
Gerry Fabbri

SAFE HUMANE CHICAGO is boring! That's right, it's not glamorous. Lots of animal non-profits are a lot more exciting. They have animals!
SAFE HUMANE CHICAGO has INFORMATION which they enthusiastically share with both vulnerable and powerful groups throughout Chicago. You can rescue one puppy today or you can teach 150 8-year olds that dog fighting is bad for everyone, that it is important to take proper care of your dog, that dogs should be spayed and neutered to help reduce the overpopulation of homeless pets, etc. You can help judges and police officers see that the dogs of criminals are unlucky victims who deserve better. And much more. EDUCATION is a long term goal. It takes time to see the results. That's why I say it is boring.

2012-10-17 14:33:43 UTC
J. Rodgers

I am a Safe Humane Chicago volunteer and Board member and believe that building a supurb website is a critical step for us at this time. Our volunteer and supporter base has grown to a level that it has become an imperative for us to communicate with them online in a much better way. With a great website, we will be able to better steward our donors and enable volunteers to be better informed and engaged. Because we have only recently become independent of other national organizations, we are unable to adequately fund a technical consultant to redo our website. We need your generous donation now. Please help us.

2012-10-17 18:06:27 UTC
Nancy Looney - Volunteer

SHC needs a "real" website! I know many will write about the absolutely awesome programs and dedicated people of SHC, along with the incredibly resilient dogs (and other animals via the Court Advocacy Program). All spot on, of course. Let me give you another perspective. My computer skills are terrible, at best, or completely non-existent. I know I am not alone. Unless a website has "got it", I am lost. SHC needs a well developed, eye-catching, easy to navigate website even someone like me can browse through. There is no bigger frustration these days than a substandard website. SHC "rocks", please help them let the world know it!!

2012-10-18 01:14:34 UTC
Marianne W

In the 10 years I have been attending criminal cases as an advocate for animals, the group has wanted a more streamlined method of keeping track of what happens on each court date (and there are MANY!), but nothing has come to fruition. Our courts are very inefficient, as is our current way of communicating about them. We could be so much more productive if the same information did not have to be re-entered and copied numerous times.

My highest priority would be to reform the Illinois courts, but will settle for something more achievable, like a better Website.

2012-10-18 16:27:08 UTC
Lisa Lughofer

I have been a Safe Humane Chicago volunteer for 3 years, and I'm proud to say that I probably win the prize for living the farthest away from Chicago. Given that I live outside of Washington, DC, my role has been as a pro bono consultant to help draft written materials about the phenomemal programs Safe Humane Chicago offers and write grant proposals to support them. I am an absolute fan of the work Cynthia and her team are doing and truly believe that Safe Humane will be a model for other cities throughout the country. We need a Web site that is as dynamic as Safe Humane is and helps us get the word out in Chicago and beyond!

2012-10-18 18:08:13 UTC
Pawsitive Change

I'm a blogger solely focusing on animal care and welfare. While there are many orgs and sites that I highly recommend and support, Safe Humane Chicago is the one org that sticks out to me the most because they focus on animal-human relationships via court cases and community outreach. I commend them for following animal cruelty cases from start to finish and making sure that justice is served. They are a new org and so have yet to really peak the interest of many as well as have the funds for a brand new site. I believe they deserve a more functional and interactive site in order to engage any visitor. This will also enable them to get their message across and in turn invite more volunteers and donors.

2012-10-18 20:40:45 UTC
Susan Shipman

Over the past several years I have been a Safe Humane Chicago Court Advocate meaning I attend cruelty to animals cases - we attend cases in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs - there are far too many active cases and more and more each day! What we would really benefit from a new Web site is an online calendar which would permit us to sign up for the case and location and date online - it is currently an extremely antiquated system as one woman gathers all the information (who wants to attend which court date and when) and it's all MANUAL!! We are stuck in the 50's here,,,,,,,,,,,a new web site with the ability of signing up online would be perfect and certainly more efficient for everybody! All the emails going back and forth would cease and that alone would be time efficient! Additionally, I have volunteered with the Safe Humane Chicago court case dogs and we really need to get the word out on this amazing dogs! Dogs that have been thru hell and back yet yearn to play ball with you in the enclosures outside, are willing to learn tricks, and overall just want to cuddle and give kisses! A new website would help spread the word on these fabulous dogs who show such resiliency - they only want love - and we give it to them - but we need more volunteers and to get the word out which will result in more rescues taking the dogs to find them a forever home. Actually, Safe Humane Chicago should be nationwide!! Please give them a new website so their work can be known to everybody!! Thank you.

2012-10-20 19:55:33 UTC
J. Johnson

Safe Humane Chicago is a wonderful organization with a dreadful website. It is not user friendly, and hits the reader in the face with way too much written information. Unfortunately the funding is not there to hire experts to revamp the content. If your organization would take on the task, more people would truly understand the mission of Safe Humane Chicago. That would mean more volunteers, donations, education, and most of all....HAPPY DOGS!

2012-10-19 15:43:44 UTC
Pat Kerber

I am a volunteer with Safe Humane Chicago and so impressed with the work that they do. It’s mind-boggling that all their projects are done with a small staff and a core of dedicated volunteers. I am a court advocate and also work with court case dogs when I can. Every time I appear in court on a cruelty case I realize how important the work is that Safe Humane does. Educating kids and adults and providing rehabilitation and new homes to dogs is crucial to improving society. It would be so important to be able to promote all of Safe Humane’s programs with a website that explains our mission and programs and keeps track of events, news, activities and resources. We need to be able to cultivate continued interest in our programs to accomplish our goals. It would also enable volunteers to become more informed and efficient and keep up with reporting, relevant articles and events. The website now is archaic and we depend on e-mails to coordinate and communicate rather than through an interactive website. Please help us and create a new website for our organization.

2012-10-19 16:19:42 UTC
Melissa K

A new, innovated website would do wonders for Safe Humane Chicago!!! First, a new website can help SHC find the many more volunteers they need to help support their amazing mission. The amazingly, resilient court case dogs need to be walk, trained, socialized, and showcased. Volunteers are need to visit Chicago’s at-risk area schools to teach students that dogs are friendly, not scary, mean animals like most children original believe and that we need to have respect for one-another. The youth at the Illinois Youth Center love meeting new volunteers and their dogs. In addition, a website that the dedicated volunteers, students and youth could actually proudly refer their friends and families to see all SHC does would be great.

The current volunteers would also love a more efficient website that would help them navigate the endless volunteer opportunities. Currently SHC relies on back-and-forth email exchanges, facebook messages and post. How about helping SHC enter into the 21st century with a system that allows volunteers to sign-up online?! The small (but very powerful) SHC staff would also appreciate the time saved on countless emails.

The work that SHC does is amazing and I know even more could be done with your help! Please help!!!

2012-10-19 17:24:08 UTC

Safe Humane staff and volunteers are the voice for the underdogs – and cats, birds, chickens, goats, horses – any animal in an abusive situation. As a Safe Human DAWG Court advocate I have been involved in:
• Returning a kidnapped dog to its owner
• Justice and new homes for dogs abused by drug dealers
• Justice and new homes for dogs being tortured for entertainment
Safe Humane staff and volunteers need a website where we can communicate with each other and where the public can easily reach out and communicate with us to find out about what we do and how they can become involved with us. A better website = more animals saved and loved.

2012-10-20 02:39:28 UTC
Cynthia Schumann

I am a Safe Humane Chicago Board member and volunteer. I have witnessed the "birth" of Safe Humane Chicago and and have been an ongoing part of its growth. I am so proud to see how the organization has flourished and grown to be a strong, viable component in creating and maintaining safe humane neighborhoods.

With that said, Safe Humane Chicago sorely needs a website that will help us manage daily/weekly/monthly communications, volunteer initiatives, donor contributions, wish lists and the like. A photo gallery of our ongoing work including our videos, would clearly streamline our mission by allowing viewers to get a realistic snapshot of what we do and how we do it! Links to our sponsors, supporters and resources would be a useful tool not only to our partners, but the community at large.

Bottom line, Safe Humane Chicago needs to have a website that will showcase our organization in a manner that speaks to our professionalism, commitment and dedication to the communities we serve, by building awareness about our organization. Please consider Safe Humane Chicago for your project. In order for us to move forward and share our mission, we must have the technological ability to do so.

2012-10-20 10:21:16 UTC
Cynthia Bathurst

Our websites are an embarrassment and a frustration, especially considering the testimonials that have been posted that praise the good works we do and the resources we have for our community -- and I am executive director and a founder. We use for everything except our DAWG Court Advocacy online court case calendar ( -- but still exists and is WOEFULLY out of date. We rely on a Yahoo group for the Court Advocates and "simple" email for our connections to SHC volunteers. We have to rely on our small staff and volunteers to report volunteer effort outside our websites. The SHC website is particularly difficult to navigate, not engaging and depends on a proprietary content management system. Please, please choose us. Considering your organization's expertise AND interests, which advertises the "average daily dogs in our office," we so very much hope you will choose us. The Court Case Dogs, who have "done the time but not the crime," would give you lots of kisses in appreciation!

2012-10-22 15:20:56 UTC
Karen N.

I can proudly say that I am a Safe Humane Volunteer. I volunteer in two of their programs and cannot express how grateful I am for this wonderful opportunity. My volunteer experience in their programs has exceeded my expectations and has been the most rewarding and fulfilling experience I have had as a volunteer. This is not my first volunteer experience. For years, I have volunteered in various more publicly known organizations, but nothing compares to the work they do. I had been looking for an organization such as Safe Humane to volunteer with, but could not find it while searching the web. Oddly, I found it the old-fashioned way. I read about them in a small article in a free-trade magazine, not even a large publication. Afterwards, I looked them up on the web, but had difficulty navigating their site to learn more about volunteer opportunities. Thankfully, they had a contact phone number! The sheer mission of Safe Humane is desparately needed in this city and cannot be done with the limited resources it has. In order to grow and continue doing this all important, critical work, Safe Humane needs your assistance. Please consider Safe Humane for your project. In return, you would have the gratitude of all - including the dogs!

2012-10-22 15:25:50 UTC
Yvonne Feeney

I've volunteered with this group because they get to the root of the problem of abuse, be it animal or human. They teach compassion and community to youngsters that some have been victims of seeing animal abuse such as dog fighting in their neighborhoods. They need a better website to get their message out there, to attract donors and more volunteers. The way the site is now, it's hard to add updates, news letters, etc. I'd like to see the faces of volunteers, upcoming events calendars that are easy to access and more user friendly. Winning this competition could really help put this group on a new playing field for nonprofit advocacy and education for children and animals.

2012-10-22 16:34:33 UTC
Andrea J

There is so much wonderful information that Safe Humane Chicago gets out to the community on a weekly basis through all of their programs, but having a user-friendly, easy-to-navigate site that distilled all that info for the general public to see would be wonderful. The message is clear in programming, but gets lost in the messy set up of the current site. It'd be great to have a way to learn more about the various programs, see pictures of the impact they're making, view a calendar of all the regular events they hold, and give donors a clear idea of just how well their dollars are being spent.

2012-10-22 16:42:19 UTC

There are people and organizations out there that we all know and support whose programs benefit the entire community in so many ways. Safe Humane Chicago's programs reach areas in Chicago that are overlooked by many other educational organizations.
"Reach out and touch someone" may have been the "once upon a time"
slogan for a phone company. It is a "NOW is the time" for
Safe Humane Chicago. Reaching out to Chicago's younger and at risk population is work that should be supported by everyone and anyone who cares about Chicago's future.
A website is the door to introducing oneself to the world. It has become the way that potential volunteers and supporters find out who and how to become involved. Safe Humane Chicago needs the best, most interactive website possible to make itself available to all.
Creating a website for Safe Humane Chicago will not just support its' work, but will inspire people to join with us. It will showcase the programs so that people see how easy and rewarding it is to volunteer.
The present website is not an inspiration. It is almost monochromatic with nothing to draw people to investigate it. It was a good effort, but not a great effort. It is mostly of hodge-podge of information hung onto various pathways.
I would love to see The Nerdery become a partner and create a website that would shine Safe Humane Chicago's light for all of Chicago to see.

2012-10-22 16:49:30 UTC
Joan Riley

I currently volunteer with Safe Humane and find it to be one of most dedicated group of individuals that I know of. The work they do is important and necessary. But why is the organization not better known? I'm afraid that its website is the major reason. It fails to forcefully present Safe Humane's mission, it is confusing and difficult to use. A new website, I am sure, would increase its number of donors, followers and volunteers. If ever an organization could make excellent use of a dynamic website, this is the one!

2012-10-22 20:43:34 UTC
Cre W.

A website makeover would do wonders for Safe Humane Chicago. More people can learn about the wonderful work that they are doing in the community. There has to be to tell the world about the lives that touch and changed. Can you imagine a website that''s interactive for H.S. or elementary age youth that teaches them about the Humane treatment of dogs? A change in this world can be made and the first change should start with their website.

2012-10-22 23:04:35 UTC
JB Bruederle, DVM

As a veterinarian, I have had the honor to help with some of the court case dogs by providing discounted surgeries. This group saves and places many dogs that would likely otherwise be euthanized. They understand that there are very few actual bad dogs and that it is the bad owners that create aggressive dogs. The more they can get there name and educational programs out to the public the more dogs they can save. They are deserving of a new Website.

2012-10-23 16:46:31 UTC
Caitlin Quinn

Safe Humane Chicago is an incomparable organization serving the Chicago community and inspiring other groups in the animal welfare field. As the grants manager for a non-profit foundation, I have found that Safe Humane Chicago is always a sound investment for our mission's funds. The staff and volunteers of SHC are efficient, caring and dedicated, which in turn inspires participants in their programs. A new website would allow for the mission of SHC to reach much farther and wider than it currently does. I strongly believe the information that SHC has to share is incredibly important, not only for the Chicago community, but for other organizations throughout the country. Again, Safe Humane Chicago has always proven to be a good partner for the work we do and a good partner for the Chicago community, but their value would only increase if they were able to improve their online presence.

2012-10-23 18:08:31 UTC
Ananda Breslof

I am a Safe Humane Chicago volunteer as well as a board member. I truly believe in all the beneficial programs SHC has created. To ensure proper distribution of information, a better, more organized and efficient website is NEEDED! In this day and age of social media, the benefits of having a proper and well structured website is a must. First presentation is what engages people to make up their mind if they would like to know more about our organization and its programs and what we have and will achieve. We need a new website to spread the word! Please choose us!

2012-10-23 20:11:26 UTC
Kathy M

Safe Humane Chicago is doing outstanding work in Chicago with both people and animals. They have done amazing things with a small staff and dedicated volunteers. It would be great if their website was able to better show who they are, what they do and how we all can help.

2012-10-26 03:33:19 UTC

Safe Humane is a wonderful organization with a very committed and passionate staff. I have just begun to volunteer with this organization and feel lucky to have found such a great group of people working to educate and save the lives of abused aninals. They are very deserving of a new website and I really do hope they get it.

2012-10-27 22:46:14 UTC
Gwen Stern

I have been a volunteer in the Court Advocacy program of Safe Humane Chicago for two years. The impact this program has on educating the public (and the judiciary) about animal abuse/ neglect is important, but most important to me is the impact the program has on the lives of animals that are seized in abuse/ neglect cases. Their lives are literally saved. All the other programs of Safe Humane are impactful as well, BUT the website does not do the organization and its mission justice. It is muddled and confusing to move through. With an update and redesign the website could not only highlight the programs and their impact but serve as a recruiting tool for additional volunteers as people enjoy their experience on the website and find it easier to "get it" about Safe Humane Chicago. I really hope Sale Humane will get this opportunity to upgrade their website!

2012-10-28 21:53:42 UTC

Safe Humane is awesome on so many levels! It’s a hands on educational experience that promotes & raises awareness on many realms of responsibilities concerning pets, animals, and fear of or appreciation for pets and animals. There is a correlation to abuse, ignorance, and societal norm. Safe humane operates on various aspects that allow one to separate the variables. Safe Humane is a reputable organization that I am glad to be a part of. I wish organizations like this existed when I was a kid and I hope its cause spreads nationwide.

Our Mission

Safe Humane Chicago's mission is to create safe and humane communities by inspiring positive relationships between people and animals. Our vision is a city in which people and companion animals are safe from all forms of violence and have the resources necessary to live in safe, humane neighborhoods. Our mission necessarily involves education, advocacy, knowledge development and second chances.