MCAS has just released the 2012 Asilomar Report and we're pleased to announce that we made meaningful gains in 2012. The total live release rate increased to 74.7% from 68.7% in 2011. The dog live release rate increased to 90.3% from 86.5% and the cat live release rate increased to 61.5% from 54.6%.
The live release rate (also known as the "save rate") measures the percentage of animals that were saved (returned to owners, adopted out or transferred to adoption placement partners) out of the total number of animals entering the shelter.
Amongst the animal rescue organizations of the Portland metro area, MCAS is unique because it is the only open door shelter. This means that we accept all lost and stray animals, no matter their breed, age, health or disposition. Limited admission shelters typically achieve very high save rates by limiting the animals they accept. MCAS is different. Our motto is "no stray is turned away." Unfortunately, some of the animals we care for are too sick or too aggressive to be adopted out. But we're working hard to improve our save rate for cats.
As you may recall, in 2011 MCAS developed a plan to save more animal lives. Through a concerted effort, MCAS identified changes and improvements to help increase the live release rate. Some of these improvements include:
- the development of the Apartment Cat Team (ACT)
- the production of daily intake videos (which enable owners of lost pets to remotely view found pets in the shelter)
- the implementation of a payment plan (owners experiencing financial difficulties may take their lost pets home and defer impound fees)
- increased utilization of community members (finders of kittens who are willing are provided with supplies to care for kittens until they are of an appropriate weight and adoptable)
- increased visibility in the community through events and advertising
- MCAS is a founding member of the Animal Shelter Alliance of Portland (ASAP). The alliance members represent all of the public and private shelters in the four county, Portland metro area. ASAP has run a program over the past two years that has provided approximately 18,000 spay-neuter surgeries for cats.
We should note that as a result of efforts by dedicated personnel and partnerships with other local rescue organizations, MCAS's save rate has been steadily improving over many years. In 2006, the cat live release rate was 37.6% and the dog live release rate was 70.8%. The 2012 save rates for dogs and cats represent 27.5% and 63.6% increases, respectively. A complete table of live release rates for cats and dogs from 2006-2012 is available. (MCAS began compiling Asilomar Reports in 2006.)
The Asilomar Accords were created in 2004 by a group of animal welfare organizations who met with the intent of developing industry standards. One of the outcomes of this meeting was the creation of a standardized reporting system for animal shelters and rescue organizations. Through this system, measurements are clearly defined and data can be reliably compared from year to year and between agencies.