Data collection runs the gamut from simple to hugely complicated. If you haven't been collecting data on the animals you serve, or if you've been collecting data but don't know what's useful, here are recommendations for the basic information to collect about both the animals and your services.
At intake, you need to capture information about each animal and about the circumstances that bring that animal to your door.
Type (dog, cat, rabbit, etc.)
Condition of animal
SOURCE OF THIS ANIMAL:
From whom: animal control, owner, feral cat caregiver, non-owner
Location: where picked up if a stray, or owner's zip code or neighborhood
Reason: this can include stray, legal seizure, owner surrender (if owner surrender, record specific reasons for surrender)
Data about Your Care of the Animals
You may not realize how much you routinely do for the animals in your care, well beyond providing food and shelter. When you provide any of the following services, be sure to track them.
Routine medical treatment: exams, vaccines, de-worming, etc.
Treatment for injuries or illness, including those acquired in your facility
Spaying or neutering
Care of neonates
ASSESSMENTS AND INTERVENTIONS:
Data about Outcomes
What happened to the animals you took in? Identify the outcome for each animal, and the date at which the outcome happened.
Returned to owner
Transferred to another agency (be sure to identify the agency)
Euthanized (indicate why ? illness, space, etc.)
Died in care
Lost in care (it happens)
Data about Your Programs and Services
Your reach in your community likely extends beyond the walls of your facility. If you offer any of the following services, or services not listed here, keep track of when, where, and how often you provide them, and of the numbers of people and animals affected by your services.
Adopter support and follow-up
Owner support and counseling, such as answering questions about behavior, referrals for training or pet-friendly housing, providing lost and found assistance, etc.
Response to animal care and control calls
Training classes for the public
Animal foster care
Humane education programs and presentations
Low-cost spay/neuter of community animals
Participation in trap-neuter-return programs
Animal cruelty investigations, participating in seizures, caring for seized animals
Keep track of this data electronically, too. Doing so will help you more readily correlate your agency's programs and services with rates of intake, RTO, adoption, and euthanasia.
Shelter management software is designed to specifically help you collect and analyze your agency's animal data. However, it's up to you to make sure you are capturing complete, accurate, and timely information in your animal records. Using an intuitive, easy-to-use shelter software, such as PetPoint, helps ensure that your team embraces the need for data collection. PetPoint has the additional advantage of being web-based, so that data can be gathered in a timely matter, at any computer that has an internet connection.