Measuring how well a shelter is doing isn’t simple. For a true picture, a lot of variables need to be evaluated–intake, adoptions, euthanasias, deaths, fostered animals—the list goes on. But two things that should always be looked at is the shelter’s live release rate and the number of euthanasias.

Let’s start by looking at the shelter’s live release rate. In 2016, our highest monthly Asilomar live release rate (LRR) was in December. It was 85%. That means ACCT Philly found a live exit for 85 out of 100 dogs that came into the shelter. So far we have tied or beaten that number for the first three months. In January our LRR was 85%, in February it was 89% and for March it is 86%.

What about euthanasias? Are we euthanizing more dogs? No, we have euthanized fewer dogs during the first three months of 2017 than in previous years. While it is true more dogs were euthanized in January 2017 than January 2016, we also received more dogs in our shelter this January compared to last year. Fifty more dogs came in this January, but only six more euthanasias occurred, and all were owner requested euthanasia.

Owner Requested Euthanasia occurs when the owner brings in a pet because they feel the quality of life has decreased significantly and he or she doesn’t want the animal to suffer anymore. ACCT Philly will only agree to euthanize if, after an evaluation, the veterinary staff agree with the owner’s assessment.

Dog euthanasias

But what about cats? Our Asilomar LRR rate for cats in January and February 2017 exceeds with the highest months in 2016. For cats, both February 2016 and December 2016 saw a LRR of 86%. For January and February 2017, our LRR was 89%. For March, it is be 85%.

Cat Euthanasia

Some may suggest that we have managed to manipulate the numbers somehow. They may not realize that every animal euthanized by ACCT Philly must be recorded in our system with a unique number that goes in a drug log for the DEA. We also have grants that require us to send raw data—reports generated by the system—to various nationally recognized and respected organizations. But most importantly, the only way we can improve is if we have an accurate picture of how we are doing now. We have made huge strides in our data collection so we are able to identify what types of animals are most at risk so we can develop better lifesaving programs to save even more lives.

combined charts