Understanding the Statistics

In 2017, ACCT Philly has made a few changes to the monthly statistics report. These changes will help us increase our transparency (one of our Core Values) and help us keep up with industry trends. One minor change made is to list “returns” (animals who are returned to ACCT Philly after being adopted) separately. In the past, this number was included with the Owner/Surrenders. The bigger change is to include two new live release rates. Each Live Release and Save Rate measures different things, and in order to truly judge our progress, we feel it is best to include all of them.

Asilomar Live Release Rate

Formula: Live Outcomes divided by (All Outcomes minus Unhealthy/Untreatable Owner Requested Euthanasia)

In 2004, a number of leaders in animal welfare met in order to provide a uniform method for collecting and reporting shelter data. This meeting is known as the “Asilomar Accords.” The Asilomar Live Release Rate shows what percentage of animals left the shelter with a live outcome. Live outcomes include adoptions, returned to owners, transferred to rescues, and trap-neutered-return. So in January 2017, 89% of all cats who entered ACCT Philly had a live exit (not including the 41 unhealthy and untreatable cats that were euthanized at the request of their owners).

What the Asilomar does not measure is how outcomes compare to intakes. Intake reduction plays a big part in helping a shelter reduce the number of animals euthanized. Which is why ACCT Philly has also included the ASPCA Live Release Rate.

ASPCA Live Release Rate

Formula: Live Outcomes divided by Intakes

The ASPCA Live Release Rate measures different things than the Asilomar Live Release Rate. It shows how many of the animals that came into a shelter had a live outcome. This rate is a good companion to the Asilomar Live Release Rate because, in order to increase the rate, a shelter needs to increase live outcomes AND decrease intakes. It helps show how admissions are affecting a shelter.

One problem with calculating this rate monthly is the percentage might be over 100%. ACCT Philly has quite a few animals in foster care, most of them kittens less than 2 pounds. They require 4 to 8 weeks of care before they can be adopted out. For that reason, we might have more outcomes than intakes, especially toward the end of kitten season (usually after September) causing the percentage to be over 100.

Best Friends Animal Society Save Rate

Formula: (Intake minus Non-Live Outcomes) divided by (Intake minus Owner Intended Euthanasia)

Best Friends Animal Society (BFAS) has been a great partner and source of assistance for ACCT Philly. Their formula is an adjusted form of another industry standard called the Save Rate which takes the intake minus the euthanasia outcomes and divided it by intake. The Save Rate is often referred to the “Not Euthanized Rate” because that is what it measures. The BFAS Save Rate is slightly different because it includes animals that died or were lost in care, but does not include animals euthanized by request of the owner.

ACCT Philly Live Release Rate

Formula: Live Release divided by (Live Release plus Total Euthanized)

This formula began being used by ACCT Philly in 2014. The rate measures how many animals received a live release rate versus how many were euthanized. The problem with this rate is that it ignores animals that died or were lost in care. It also includes owner-requested euthanasia. The problem with including owner requested euthanasia is that is not something ACCT Philly can control. ACCT Philly informs anyone surrendering their pet that euthanasia decisions are at our discretion. Our vet staff will evaluate the animal to determine if humane euthanasia is warranted. We will not euthanize healthy animals simply because the owner requests it.

This formula is not industry standard, which is why we have moved to the other three measures to rate our progress. However, in order to be transparent, we will continue to include it in our monthly statistics.