On behalf of the No Kill Advocacy Center, I just released an Animal Evaluation Matrix that includes medical and behavior protocols, diagnostic tools, end of life protocols, with forms and checklists to increase accountability and improve performance. The protocols ensure that every life-affirming option is provided to every animal every time. The Matrix, which includes checklists for shelters, is now available for free download.

These protocols were developed in collaboration with some of the most successful shelter directors in the country. Directors like:

Kristen Auerbach: Kristen oversaw the operations at the Austin Animal Center and helped cowrite and pilot the behavior and end of life protocols expanded in the Matrix. When she left to run the Pima County shelter in Tucson, Austin had a live release rate of 99% for dogs and 96% for cats, despite nearly 20,000 intakes a year.

Dr. Shayda Ahkami: When she took over the day-to-day running of the Palm Springs Animal Shelter, “less than 50 percent of live, unclaimed dogs and 20 percent of live, unclaimed cats were adopted.” When Shayda left, “that number [was] more than 95 percent — and climbing.”

Phil Peckinpaugh: In 2016, the municipal shelter in Muncie, Indiana, achieved a 97% live release rate. Phil also succeeded in passing the most progressive shelter animal protection legislation in the country; legislation that codifies into law many of the protections in the Matrix and guarantees animals in shelters certain rights, the most important of which is making it illegal to kill healthy or treatable animals.

Doug Rae: Doug runs the shelter in Fremont County, Colorado. The Fremont Humane Society runs the animal control shelter for seven cities under contract. Rae also previously ran a private shelter in Rhode Island and “open admission”/municipal shelters in Arizona, Indiana, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, including those taking in as many as 30,000 animals per year. Doug rarely puts down an animal. Even cats hit by cars with multiple medical conditions are saved if they are not irremediably suffering as the case study on Bam Bam in the new Matrix demonstrates. His shelter is running a 100% live release rate for dogs and 99% for cats year-to-date.

The Matrix was also strengthened thanks to important feedback from Janis Bradley of the National Canine Research Council, Dr. Ellen Jefferson of Austin Pets Alive, and dog advocates Chris and Eileen McFall of Austin, whose experience saving dogs deemed “aggressive” proved invaluable.

By following the protocols, shelters with live release rates above 95% have reported even higher ones as a result. Those below 90% will see even more dramatic lifesaving increases. While I encourage all shelters to fully implement them, shelters can also evaluate them on a trial basis. Once they see how well they work, they can roll them out further until they benefit all animals.

Download the FREE guide — and checklist forms for shelters – by clicking here.

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