League Tables For Animal Shelters

Animal rescue league tables

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Would league tables work for animal rescue shelters? League tables are a way of ranking the quality of a service provided. Any service can be measured. The concept is that league tables create competition to improve services which raises overall standards.

Cat or animal rescue league tables could be based on one criterion alone: how many adoptable cats have been euthanized? This would be slightly tricky to measure because whether a cat is, or is not, adoptable is frequently a matter for discussion and manipulation but despite that weakness it would seem to be possible.

League tables for cat rescue would improve record keeping and accountability. I know there is a current lack of accountability across the board so the obligation to provide the most basic of figures would be a much needed start.

The rescue organisations who are weak on performance would hate it, initially, but so what? They’d have to improve and if they improved they’d start to enjoy the process.

It would be simple to set up. The obligations and rules could probably be created under an appropriate existing statute as what we call a “statutory instrument”.

There are about 4,000 animal shelters in the USA (the Humane Society says about 3,500). This is not an overwhelming number. It would be manageable to collect data from these shelters and compile the data on a spreadsheet. The data would be collected annually so a couple of people max. could compile the rankings.

If you wanted to make the criterion really simple you could simply record three numbers:

  • Cats in
  • Cats rehomed
  • Cats euthanized

As I recall Los Angeles already provide these figures freely on the internet. Even that would provide some very useful insights into the effectiveness of a cat shelter and it would eliminate potential manipulation regarding reasons for euthanasia.

National Animal Shelter and Rescue Appreciation Week is about to start: Nov. 3-9. How do we celebrate animal rescue? You don’ want to celebrate a rescue center if it does not deserve being praised.

League tables would give supporters a reason to celebrate their favourite rescue organisation if it was deserved.

From my fairly extensive reading about animal shelters in the USA, there are many excellent ones but I believe it is fair to say that improvements overall could be made. Improvements in euthanasia rates have been made.

What better method to ramp up the rate of improvement than league tables measuring performance based on the most aspect of cat rescue: rehoming rates and euthanasia percentages?

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5 thoughts on “League Tables For Animal Shelters”

  1. Michael, you ‘stalled me out’ for a second, and then I just had to laugh out loud with your “PETA” comment ” Improvements in euthanasia rates have been made.” “Sieg heil!” came to mind for a moment.

    I believe ANY organization serving the public and private sectors with issues as volatile as euthanasia of companion animals would WELCOME the scrutiny of a “ranking” as you propose.

    (excluding of course PETA, who have espoused and believe that [a la “Logan’s Run”] they are simply sending ALL the poor animals to ‘Carnival’)

    You hold the ability, credentials and experience to establish a world-wide organization that “vets” or dismisses doers or frauds right there in your lap(top), dear Michael.

    If you are simply asking for permission, ask no further.

    (but remember, you have luggage to buy (for two!), and some miles to run/travel before you start that particular endeavor!)

    A rating system would serve – and save wasted money – for everyone.

    Here in the U.S., we generally think of “leagues” as being involved in sports, like bowling (or other).

    Your U.S. readers should get this, others may not: “Bowling for Cats!”

    • Improvements in euthanasia rates have been made

      That comment relates to general kill rates across the USA at shelters. The mass legal slaughter of rescue cats is still huge but lower than before. Considerably lower as I recall. Los Angeles is a good example. There has been a lot of talk about “no-kill” and what it means – it does not mean no kill 🙂 a lot of the time.

      You make a good point: people genuinely concerned about lowering kill rates would welcome a league table even if they performed poorly at the outset because it would motivate them to improve and save lives.

      If rescues resist league tables it is proof positive that they are not interested in saving lives but “processing unwanted cats”.

  2. No doubt that any sort of tool that may measure the quality of shelter services would be welcomed. But, I doubt that some counties in my state will utilize, even if made law.
    Last year, Florida enacted a law that required shelters to disclose to the public records of animals taken in, adopted, and euthanized. Several counties wouldn’t comply.

    I have to question the estimated 4,000 shelters. Including Humane Society shelters, county shelters, and private shelters I estimate, conseratively, about 6,000.


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