Transparency in America’s shelters

Every day across America, Best Friends, along with our network of animal welfare group partners and passionate people like you, are working together to end the killing of dogs and cats in shelters. We’ve even set a date for reaching our no-kill goal: Together, we will Save Them All and create a no-kill country by 2025.

Saving the lives of homeless pets requires more than adoption, spay/neuter and other lifesaving programs, though. It also requires transparency and cooperation from animal shelters coast to coast. That’s why Best Friends is working toward passing shelter transparency laws all across the country.

Why are laws that require animal shelters to report their statistics important?

Shelter transparency laws will require shelters to report their numbers. Right now, only about 20 percent of the states in the country require animal shelters to report data. Best Friends believes that shelters should report consistent and accurate statistics, including the following:

  • The number of dogs and cats taken in by shelters (subcategorized by species, age, and the circumstances surrounding their arrival)
  • Pet adoption statistics
  • Animal euthanasia statistics
  • The number of animals surrendered by their people
  • Natural death statistics
  • How many are killed each year
  • The number of community cats returned to their outdoor homes after being spayed or neutered
  • The number reclaimed by their people

Why are animal shelter transparency laws important?

Shelter transparency laws help save the lives of dogs and cats in shelters! These laws give you, as a taxpayer or donor, insight into animal shelter facts and how the shelters in your area are performing. They also can give you an idea about how you can help.

Plus, they will also help Best Friends follow the level of success we’re achieving together, and help to determine if we need to create or concentrate on any specific programs. And that, of course, means that we’ll be able to save more lives and bring us even closer to no-kill by 2025.

Are shelters negatively impacted by having to report their numbers?

No, not at all. Right now, many shelters either don’t provide records or do so inconsistently, which actually is a disservice to the shelter itself, the animals and the community. Reporting data isn’t difficult, and these laws provide guidance to animal shelters regarding all the information that needs to be gathered, maintained and reported. 

How can I help?

Make your voice heard! Join our action network, and we’ll send you important updates regarding these laws and other issues so you can help.

Thank you for all that you do for the animals, and for helping to Save Them All.