If I run a shelter and I tell you that I adopted out 10 pets last month but 12 pets this month – would you be like, “Hurray! Shelter adoptions have increased 20% in one month!”? No, of course you wouldn’t. Because you don’t know how many pets I took in last month or this month so the number of adoptions alone indicates nothing. You’d ask me my adoption rate for last month in comparison to this month. That would be a valid comparison, since the adoption rate reflects the number of adoptions relative to the number of pets taken in. For example, If I took in 100 pets last month and 120 pets this month, my shelter’s adoption rates would be 10% for both months and it would be obvious there was no 20% increase in adoptions.
One thing we have heard repeatedly from MAS is that adoptions are up 20% so far this year, as compared to the same time last year. For example:
I will tell you that through our first three months of this year our placement numbers (including working with rescue) are up 20%. (Matthew Pepper)
Take this statistic with a grain of salt and for what it is, but for year to date 2011 we are 19.8% increased in placements and 5% increase in return to owner from 2010[…] (Matthew Pepper)
Adoptions are up 20%… 20%! (John Cox)
So far in 2011, adoptions are up 20 percent. (Matthew Pepper)
I was having troubling reconciling this grand uptick in adoptions with the mass killings I knew were taking place at MAS. So I looked at the numbers on a month-by-month basis for January through April 2010 and January through April 2011. I hate teh maths but I will show my work, so that the teacher knows I didn’t copy off my neighbor’s paper:
Jan 2010/Feb 2010/Mar 2010/Apr 2010
January – April 2010 rates:
Foster less than 1%
Jan 2011/Feb 2011/Mar 2011/Apr 2011
Missing 40/?/?/? (not reported for Feb/Mar/Apr)
January – April 2011 rates:
Foster less than 1%
Missing (not reported for Feb, Mar or Apr)
For those who just scrolled past all that numbers stuff (I don’t blame you), here’s the bottom line, according to my calculations based upon the monthly stats I received: The adoption rate is not up 20% so far in 2011 compared to the same time period last year. In fact, the adoption rate is not up ANY percent. The rates are exactly the same – a dismal 12%. RTOs, in case you were wondering are not up 5%. They are down 1%.
Someone please double check my math. Stats fluctuate depending on the specific time period being examined. Is there any time period in here where adoptions were up 20%? I don’t see it.
If anyone has any calculations that work out differently from mine, please share. I am not a math whiz so who knows, maybe I forgot to carry an eleventy somewhere or something. Oh and – show your work.