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Numbers Tell Part of the Story
|Saturday, December 09, 2006|
|Someone criticized me recently for using this space so consistently to report anecdote rather than fact. Its fair criticism, but I do believe that the story about animals is better told as, well, a story. No one wants to read polemics or dry reportage; the story of an animal and a person is really the story about many people and animals, and I believe that stories reach and teach us in many different ways. |
While I will continue to write from an anecdotal perspective, its fair to commit this one column to a statistical review; while numbers never tell the whole story its important to provide some objective evaluation. As such, lets consider one statistic, whats called the Live Release Rate or LRR.
The LRR grew out of a meeting of national animal welfare organizations, and is calculated as follows: the companion animals entering the shelters in a community, minus those humanely euthanized for illness/injury/behavior at the request of their owners, leaves you with the number of animals potentially saved if limitless resources were available. The percentage of those animals actually saved, as compared to the number potentially saved, equals the Live Release Rate.
Before we go on, its important to know that the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA is now completing its fourth consecutive year of successfully finding homes for fully 100% of the healthy dogs and cats in our shelter. We are exceptionally proud of this fact, and we thank the thousands of you who have taken our animals into your homes and hearts. The LRR statistic, to be clear, goes much further it includes not only the animals who come to us healthy but also those who come to us ill and injured, those too young to be away from their mothers care, and those who arrive behaviorally shattered. It includes the animals who come to us with problems, problems both fixable and problems without an obvious solution.
It is estimated that the national average LRR is 30-35%; in other words, it is estimated that 30-35% of the animals in a communitys shelters are adopted, returned to owners, or released to other adoption agencies, while 65-70% of the pets entering shelters do not make it out. Although this is only an estimate, knowing what I do of smaller organizations in some of our nations more hard-pressed areas this number makes sense. A survey conducted earlier this year of sixteen large sheltering organizations around the country documented a LRR of 44%; better by far, but still terribly tragic. And a survey just released last month based on data from the California Department of Health Services reports a 49% average LRR for shelters around the State; that is, here in the State touted as the best for animals in the nation, roughly half the animals in a communitys shelters are saved.
So if thats the norm, whats the situation here at PHS/SPCA? Not only has PHS/SPCA successfully saved the lives of every healthy dog and cat in our care for the past four years, but our LRR life-saving record is about double the national average and far higher than even neighboring California communities. For the first ten months of this year (the period for which the numbers are now available) weve achieved a 64% LRR, a stat that will even improve over the next two months. In short, were now about the best and safest place in the nation to be a pet.
Numbers are part of the story. And our numbers, as do our words, tell a very positive tale.
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|Category » Ken White|