Methodology

How our Community Dashboard is Developed

Sources for shelter data include Shelter Animals Count (self-reported and opted in to a Best Friends-led Coalition), public websites, government-provided data and voluntary data submissions. Where information is derived from data supplied by Shelter Animals Count, Shelter Animals Count specifically disclaims all responsibility for any analysis, interpretations, conclusions and opinions contained in the information presented. While Best Friends attempts to validate data sources, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of these sources.


Methodology for Community Dashboard

Each community is assigned one of three statuses:

1. No-Kill:
A no-kill community is generally a city, town, township, village or borough whose brick and mortar animal shelters are working collectively to save at least 90 percent of their animals. In some cases, unincorporated communities are instrumental in this effort and are included as well.

Save Rates displayed represent the community effort of all shelters located in or providing animal control services to each community. A community is recognized as no-kill when it meets the following criteria:

2. Not Yet No-Kill:
A community is considered not yet no-kill when it meets the following criteria:

3. Incomplete Data:
A community has incomplete data when Best Friends does not have access to data for at least one brick and mortar animal shelter located in or providing municipal shelter services to the community.

Some communities have no known animal shelters located in or serving their area. These communities are not included in the Community Dashboard.

The Community Dashboard is based on calendar year data with the data source year noted on the individual shelter’s view.


How Save Rates are Calculated

For all individual shelters and communities with data for only one shelter, a gross save rate calculation is used:

[(Live Intakes, including Owner Requested Euthanasia) - (Died in Care) - (Lost in Care) - (Shelter Euthanasia) - (Owner Requested Euthanasia)] divided by Live Intakes

For aggregating more than one shelter’s data a net save rate calculation is used to remove transfers between agencies and avoid double-counting of animals:

[(Live Intakes, including Owner Requested Euthanasia) - (Transfers In) - (Died in Care) - (Lost in Care) - (Shelter Euthanasia) - (Owner Requested Euthanasia)] divided by (Live Intakes - Transfers In)]

Special exception for Net Aggregation:

For all communities that are aggregated net (data for more than one shelter) where either:

A. Gross Community Save Rate 90% or greater and Net Community Save Rate is below 90%; or

B. The difference between gross and net community save rate is 5% or greater

We will send a survey to shelters to identify source of transfers. Based on the shelter’s response:

A. The community will be aggregated gross if less than 50% of the community’s total transfers in are from inside of the community.

B. The community will be aggregated net if more than 50% of the community’s total transfers are from inside of the community.

This rule will ensure a community’s save rate is accurately calculated. If a shelter transfers in animals mostly from outside of their own community, there is no need to remove transfers from the save rate calculation to avoid double counting.

  1. Best Friends has access to data for all known brick and mortar shelters located in or providing municipal shelter services to the community.
  2. The municipal shelter providing service to a community is No-Kill (90% Save Rate).
  3. All shelters located in or serving the same jurisdiction aggregate at 90% Save Rate or higher for dogs and cats together. The save rates of individual shelters may vary.
  4. In some instances, a community may not meet the aforementioned qualifications, but is operating its shelters consistent with the No-Kill Philosophy (See our no-kill position statement for how Best Friends defines no-kill.)  In these cases, the shelters in a community that don’t meet the statistical benchmark have two options for their community to be considered no-kill.
    1. Each shelter under the 90 percent benchmark can request an independent review by a panel made up of Best Friends experts and outside parties, and/or
    2. They can display on their website the following statement:
      • “Our shelter has committed to saving all savable pets entering our care. We do not euthanize healthy or treatable pets even at a pet person’s request. We only euthanize a pet if:
      • a.) A veterinarian has assessed that there is no chance of recovering an acceptable quality of life, or
      • b.) It would be clearly inhumane or unsafe not to do so immediately, or
      • c.) in cases of extreme aggression when (1) a veterinarian has eliminated medical treatment as a solution; (2) rehabilitation by a qualified behaviorist has failed; and (3) staff and public safety cannot be reasonably assured, or other management protocols seriously compromise quality of life.
    1. Best Friends has access to data for all known brick and mortar shelters located in or providing municipal shelter services to the community.
    2. Either:
      A. A municipal shelter providing service to the community is not yet No-Kill (less than 90% Save Rate); or
      B. All shelters located in or serving the same jurisdiction aggregate at less than 90% Save Rate for dogs and cats together. The save rates of individual shelters may vary.
    3. See above for a description of special exceptions to this definition.