I’d like to say thanks to everyone who commented and sent me e-mails about the blog’s listing criteria going forward. The suggestions were really great and have helped me a lot in making a decision.
I’ve decided to go with the idea of asking the non-transparent shelters to provide their statistics to me as an official statement which can be uploaded to the blog. The way I’m going to implement this is to move all communities that do not have their statistics publicly accessible to a separate, temporary page on the blog that I will call “Other 90%+.” Then I will send an e-mail, with a copy of the Basic Matrix attached, to the shelter directors for each of the “Other 90%+” communities and ask that the matrix (or a similar form) be filled out and returned to me within 30 days, along with a statement from the director that the form represents the shelter’s statistics for the year 2013 and that I have permission to post it or link to it on the blog.
In the meantime I will reduce the running totals to reflect the smaller number of communities in the right sidebar. There will be quite a drop in the totals, but hopefully it will be only temporary. Communities that do not respond to the inquiry within 30 days will be moved to the Worth Watching page or dropped.
In order to keep the requirements for listing uniform across the board, I’m going to require that shelters either list publicly, or send to me for posting, statistics that include at least intake, adoptions, returns-to-owner, transfers, and euthanasias. If I have any question whether transfers are to other 90%+ organizations I will check that with the shelters. If a shelter operates as part of a coalition and coalition statistics are provided, the statistics must be corrected for intra-coalition transfers.
This will take some time to implement, so the blog will be a mess for the next few weeks. Thanks in advance for your patience. Even if we come out of this with a much smaller number of communities, I think it will be worth it because we will have much more uniform information about the communities that are listed. For whatever reasons, most shelter directors do not make statistics a priority. That will never change unless we start supporting the idea that transparency is important.