Thank you to reader Valerie for pointing me to the Georgia Voters for Animal Welfare (GVAW) Survey of Animal Services in Georgia. The purpose of the survey was to obtain statistics from shelters and make the results available to the public. Valerie has posted the report in full on her blog. I will post some excerpts.
The main challenge to the collection of data was apparent apathy or refusal to participate on the part of animal control organizations and shelters in GA:
The primary limitation of this study is that, despite the enormous amount of time, energy and expense invested, GVAW is unable to produce a complete data set, a testament to the need for state-mandated collection of and public access to comprehensive shelter data. For example:
· 45 counties (28%) of the total 159 surveyed did not respond;
· 63 animal control units and/or shelters (32%) did not respond;
· 5 animal control units and/or shelters refused to complete the questionnaire citing
O.C.G.A. 50-18-70(e); and,
· 19 animal control units and/or shelters did not provide intake and/or euthanasia numbers.
In all, 84 animal control units and shelters either didn’t respond at all or didn’t provide intake and exit numbers as requested.
They did receive responses from 162 GA animal control units and shelters. Based upon those responses:
· 50 counties (31%) have no form of animal control;
· Total number of 2007 shelter admissions reported was 245,034;
· Total number of 2007 euthanasias reported was 152,297, representing an overall 62% kill rate;
· Based on the average number of animals killed per shelter, GVAW estimates there were at least an additional 105,000 animals killed in the non-reporting shelters, for an estimated total of 260,000 animals killed in Georgia shelters in 2007
The report loses focus on the need for mandated shelter statistics reporting by veering into the “pet overpopulation” myth and anti-tethering issues but the conclusions regarding the relevant shelter pet numbers are interesting:
Georgia is killing more than its share of companion animals in “shelters” that are funded by taxpayers. National figures on shelter kill rates are reported as low as 4 million and as high as 11 million per year. Using 2008 Census Bureau statistics, Georgia’s human population represents 3.2% of the national population. Factoring Georgia’s estimated annual kill rate of 260,000 shelter animals into a nationwide per person equation, Georgia’s pro rata share is 128,000 animals. Using this formula, Georgia is killing twice the national average.
Just to be clear, from where I’m sitting, even if GA was able to halve its kill rate of shelter pets, that would still suck for 130,000 animals a year. But it would be better than where the state, and much of the South, is at now. I hope GA shelters can get the ball rolling and start saving more of the pets they are charged with sheltering.