Some people feel intimidated about asking for public records, even though our government says you have a right to the information. If a shelter receives its funding from taxpayers, the shelter must provide records to the public upon request. To my mind, all public shelters should have at least their statistics and kill lists posted online. How can we save pets that we don’t even know are scheduled to be needlessly killed? Here are a few resources to take the scary off obtaining public records:
- Forcing Transparency: pdf by Kate Neiswender on “using state public records and Freedom of Information laws to get records and statistics from animal shelters”
- Christie Keith liveblogged a session with Kate Neiswender from the 2010 No Kill Conference. It’s a great primer on FOIA and open records requests.
- Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) site has a list of tipsheets on FOIA requests
If you decide to request statistics from your local municipal shelter, please let me know when you receive the information. I’ll be glad to share the numbers on the blog.