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Identifying Best Practices in Animal Sheltering

The aim is to identify animal sheltering practices that optimize outcomes for the animals and communities they serve.

While enormous progress in live release rates from animal shelters has been made across the US over the last several decades, improvements in practices for animals, staff and the communities served are needed. My research group is studying the impacts of animal sheltering practices at both the levels of individual shelters and of systems of shelters and rescues. 

Trends in Animal Sheltering

In 2015, the Institute for Human-Animal Connection convened a group of animal welfare stakeholders from Colorado to discuss the trends in shelter data from 2000-2013. 

Meeting Notes

A recent study analyzed trends in the intake and outcomes for dogs and cats in animal shelters and rescues across the entire state of Colorado from 2000-15.

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Best Practices in Animal Sheltering

Other studies are assessing the impacts of innovative sheltering practices, moral stress in shelter staff and public attitudes toward shelter and rescue organizations as sources of pets.

Cost for Care

This detailed case study aimed to understand how an increased Live Release Rate (LRR) in Austin, TX has impacted components of shelter operations, such as: cost per animal, length of stay (LOS) and companion animal quality of life. The findings create a template for calculating the direct costs associated with caring for companion animals at other sheltering and rescue organizations.

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Sources of Pet Acquisition

This study aimed to measure the attitudes informing pet acquisition preferences and the barriers to pet ownership in Austin, TX. By understanding more about pet acquisition history, pet preference, and the social influences informing petkeeping practices, this study can inform the strategies employed by shelters in the Austin area to increase rates of adoption.

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