Calculating an Animal Shelter's Live Release Rate
Everyone’s familiar with the old quip. There are three types of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics. Statistical manipulation is very easy and one need not be dishonest to spin numbers in one’s favor. It’s all about the assumptions and inputs one uses when crunching them.
It is important, therefore, that when determining how well or how poorly a shelter is performing—the percentage of animals who are leaving out the front door in the loving arms of families, rather than out the back door in garbage bags—we use an honest assessment with as minimal massaging--spin—as possible. In other words, we must use raw data and be forthright about what numbers are included, which are excluded, what they show, what they mask, and even what happens to animals after they leave a shelter alive.