This blog lists hundreds of communities that are saving 90%+ of shelter animals or are making exceptional progress toward saving 90%+. My research indicates that the “90% Documented” shelters listed in the right sidebar meet the following requirements: (1) the community as a whole must have saved 90% or more of all its animals (not counting wildlife) coming into the shelter system in the previous calendar or fiscal year, (2) the community must not have a pit-bull or other breed-specific ban (restrictions short of a ban will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis), (3) the shelters in the community must use humane methods of euthanasia (not including gas chambers), and (4) the community must make statistics easily available to the public that are sufficient to calculate a standard live release rate (this includes statistics provided to the blog for upload).

I’ve chosen to make the list in the right sidebar by community rather than by shelter. Many people assume that each community in the United States has one shelter that handles both strays and owner surrenders, but the situation is much more complicated than that. There are some shelters that serve a dozen or more communities, and there are some places where a single community has multiple shelters. I made the list by community because it simply isn’t meaningful in many cases to look at shelters in isolation. For example, if you have a municipal shelter that takes in strays and a large humane society that takes in owner surrenders, you need to look at both organizations to get an accurate picture of the work of each. And if you have a large shelter that serves many communities, it can understate the success of the shelter to ignore all the additional communities it serves.

When you click on a community in the right sidebar, it will take you to a post about the community that details the organization or organizations that serve strays and owner surrenders in that community. The post will also tell you how many communities are served by that organization or group of organizations.