How ASPCA partners in Austin use stats to save kittens and cats
One of the goals of ASPCA partnership is to help communities collect and use data to target at risk animal populations and save more animal lives. Here's one example of the way that process is working in Austin, Texas.
In 2007, Austin was selected as an ASPCA partner community. A partner community is a geographic region that shares the philosophy of the ASPCA in moving toward an adoption guarantee and a humane community, and has been selected to be part of ASPCA partnership. The city-funded Town Lake Animal Center and the nonprofit Austin Humane Society (AHS) are the lead sheltering agencies in the Austin partnership.
What the Numbers Showed
Town Lake and AHS took a hard look at data collected in 2006 and 2007 and noted:
A 60% increase (from 4,227 to 6,771) in the number of kittens coming into the two facilities
1,714 potentially adoptable kittens and 1,919 potentially adoptable cats euthanized at Town Lake during this period
The Summer of Cats, and Beyond
The Austin partners' analysis showed that cats and kittens are among the most at-risk populations in the community's shelters. The partners decided to focus energy and resources on saving those animals, and in 2008 began addressing the problems on several fronts by:
Launching The 2008 Summer of Cats: both agencies agreed to waive adoption fees in June, July and August for adult cats over five years old and to reduce the adoption fee for younger cats and kittens to $35 to increase adoptions
Initiating spay/neuter programs that are targeted toward stray and feral cats, ultimately reducing intake of both kittens and cats
Expanding and revitalizing an existing foster program at AHS into a Community Foster Program with a Community Foster Coordinator. Now, kittens under six weeks of age entering Town Lake are put into foster homes. The program is administered by AHS. Town Lake provides funds to alter, vaccinate and micro-chip the foster animals prior to adoption. Once ready, the kittens go to Town Lake or AHS, depending on space.
The Summer of Cats, spay/neuter initiatives, and the Community Foster Program are just some of the data-driven programs that the Austin partners are implementing to address specific populations of animals at risk, both in their shelters and in the community.