Module 6: The Case of the Overwhelmed Shelter

Shelter Animals Count and the National Shelter Database

Shelters that collect and report data in standardized ways can compare their statistics to similar shelters in other communities. Comparisons to similar shelters around the country enable understanding of the progress a shelter is making toward increasing positive outcomes for the animals in its care.

Shelter Animals Count is a nonprofit coalition of leading animal welfare organizations created in 2012 to share and steward a national database of shelter animals that provides facts and insights to save lives. Shelters and rescue groups voluntarily provide monthly intake and outcome data in a standardized Basic Data Matrix form to the SAC National Shelter Database.



The Basic Data Matrix Form is a standardized data collection tool that tracks the number of dogs and cats that enter a shelter and the number that leave the shelter via various pathways each month. The Form includes the ASV Guidelines MUST recommendations for recording intake numbers by category (stray, owner surrender, transfer in, confiscation, rabies quarantine) and outcome numbers by category (adoption, transfer out, return to owner, euthanasia). It also divides the intake and outcome categories by age groups – adult and juvenile (up to 5 months of age).

The SAC National Shelter Database is a tool enabling each shelter and rescue group to recognize and understand trends, challenges, and progress in animal welfare at the local, regional, and national levels. Each agency can benchmark their life-saving work against similar agencies in their region or nationally.

The table below contains national intake and outcome summary data voluntarily submitted from 2,873 sheltering organizations across the country to the National Shelter Database.


Gross Intake 1,937,990 1,730,947
Gross Live Outcomes 1,690,874 1,398,167
Other Outcomes (euthanasia) 235,822 315,105
Live Release Rate


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Here are tables comparing canine and feline intake and outcome data for Alachua County Animal Services to the average for similar municipal shelters in Florida and the nation based on data submitted to the National Shelter Database.


DOG Alachua County Animal Services Florida US
Gross Intake 2,536 3,063 2,476
Gross Live Outcomes 2,199 2,590 2,095
Other Outcomes (euthanasia) 316 460 360
Live Release Rate 85% 85%


CAT Alachua County Animal Services Florida US
Gross Intake 2,086 3,739 1,864
Gross Live Outcomes 1,909 2,863 1,386
Other Outcomes (euthanasia) 197 959 454
Live Release Rate 77% 74%


Test Your Knowledge


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