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Creating Dane County’s Pet Evaluation Matrix: A Step by Step Guide 


Maddie's® Pet Rescue Project in Dane County, Wisconsin, (a coalition of Dane County Friends of Ferals, Dane County Humane Society, and Shelter from the Storm) was given a Maddie's Fund grant to help bring Dane County to an adoption guarantee for healthy and treatable shelter dogs and cats within 5 years. As a condition of funding, the coalition was responsible for implementing the Asilomar Accords, publishing its animal statistics tables and live release rates, and creating a Pet Evaluation Matrix (PEM). Here are the steps Dane County took to create its matrix.

1. Surveyed pet guardians in the community regarding attitudes on veterinary and behavioral care.
A community dog and cat survey was designed and distributed through the on-line Craig's List postings, Dane County Humane Society membership, local pet supply stores, and tabling events at local grocery stores and the Dane County Farmer's Market. Over 800 people filled out the survey, which represents approximately 3.5 percent of pet owning households in Dane County. (See related links.)

2. Surveyed private practice veterinarians in the community. Veterinarians were asked about the kind of care their typical client would provide with regard to their recommendations. (See related links.)

3. Formed an advisory committee. Once the surveys were completed, an advisory committee was established to review the results. The advisory committee consisted of various members of the pet-caring public including individuals representing private practice veterinary clinics, pet supply stores, boarding facilities, the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and pet guardians. The objective of the committee was to take the results of the pet guardians' survey and combine those with the veterinary survey to create a final recommended Pet Evaluation Matrix for Maddie's® Pet Rescue Project in Dane County.

4. Publish and circulate. The Dane County PEM is posted on each coalition member's website. It will also be circulated throughout the community and sent to the media for publication. We believe that publishing our animal statistics tables and pet evaluation matrix will produce greater confidence in our organizations and ultimately generate greater financial and volunteer support.