Since 2013 I’ve posted dog and cat report card blogs on all New Jersey animal shelters reporting data to the New Jersey Department of Health. In these blogs, I set targets for the number of dogs and cats shelters should euthanize, send to rescues/other shelters, adopt out and rescue from other facilities. The live release targets assume the shelters uses all of its animal enclosures to find homes for the most animals unless that shelter reaches a specific adoption number cap (based on the human population in the area). These blogs consistently found the state’s shelter system as a whole 1) killed too many animals 2) failed to use its available space and 3) did not come close generating as many live outcomes as it could.
As I wrote in in an earlier blog, 2020 was the most unusual year in the history of animal sheltering. The COVID-19 pandemic caused many shelters to restrict animal intake and the public, who were home more, lost fewer pets and fostered more animals. As a result, shelters took significantly fewer animals in and had more open animal enclosures than in the past.
Based on New Jersey animal shelters being forced to scale back operations for at least part of 2020, it is unfair to grade those facilities’ live release performances based on my targets requiring shelters to use all of their animal holding capacity. Thus, I could not evaluate these shelters 2020 live release performance in 2020.
While I could not grade shelters on the number of live outcomes, I did determine which shelters killed more and fewer animals than I target. You can see these results in my last blog here.