Empowering YOU to save more pets’ lives with game-changing technology
Last Saturday, our nation celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon in 1969. When President John F. Kennedy challenged the country to realize that momentous achievement with his famous “moon shot” speech in 1962, he said we would need “a giant rocket … made of new metal alloys, some of which have not yet been invented….”
At the Best Friends National Conference in 2016, I stood on stage at the closing session and announced our own moon shot, to take the country to no-kill by 2025.
Today, I announced the first new “alloy” that we’ve invented to accomplish that goal.
How many animals are killed in shelters?
But first, we need to put the issue into context. Since the animal sheltering industry began 150 years ago, no one has known how many shelters exist in this country, nor did anyone know how many animals were dying. No one had a complete picture of the data.
Everyone was just guessing.
For decades, Best Friends Animal Society and like-minded organizations have had to work in the dark to end the killing in shelters because we lacked timely, accurate information about the scale, scope and nature of the problem we were trying to solve. How many animals were being killed? What types of animals were being killed? Where and why was the killing taking place? We relied on best-guess estimates and broad, untargeted programs that might or might not yield lifesaving results.
Today, that guesswork is over.
New shelter data visualization tool
This morning, at the opening session of the Best Friends National Conference in Dallas, I was joined on stage by our chief mission officer, Holly Sizemore, to publicly announce the launch of our community lifesaving dashboard.
This groundbreaking tool will empower civic leaders, rescue organizations and everyday animal lovers in every town, in every city, in every county and in every state to use data to help save the lives of dogs and cats in their local shelters.
This kind of national, community-by-community dashboard is a first, not just in the animal welfare sector, but in any social sector. It’s an interactive data visualization tool that provides comprehensive “noses in, noses out” information down to the shelter level. It provides a level of detail never before available about how many animals are entering and leaving our shelter system, regardless of category (healthy, treatable, owner-requested euthanasia, etc.). Just simply, how many animals entered a shelter and how many left the shelter alive.
Helping shelters save more dogs and cats
For the first time, anyone with a smartphone or computer will be able to easily access accurate shelter information that will enable them to offer the kind of targeted support, volunteer work or program design that is needed. All of us will be able to target resources wisely and ensure that shelters are getting what they need to save more lives.
The dashboard also provides an opportunity for shelters to put out a message about their needs or special factors about their operations that might be reflected in their numbers.
The community lifesaving dashboard is a massive project, and you may wonder why we invested so much time and energy into it. The answer is pretty simple really. You can’t solve a problem that you can’t identify or quantify. Conversely, when you know the nature and size of the problem you are dealing with, you can target resources most effectively and get the biggest bang for the buck from precious donor dollars.
A call to action: What you can do
So, please take a few minutes to visit bestfriends.org/2025. Look around and check out your local shelter or the shelter in your hometown or the one from which your rescue group is receiving transport dogs.
Share it with your friends, post to your Facebook page and help me get the word out.
Celebrate a shelter’s success, roll up your sleeves to help where and how help is needed. And, if need be, speak out for greater lifesaving urgency, greater transparency and a commitment to make the country no-kill by 2025.
Together, we will Save Them All.