First-of-its-kind initiative aims to measure progress, shape future of animal welfare

December 14, 2015

Sharon Fletcher, Director of Marketing & Communications

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 14, 2015 -- Several leading national animal welfare organizations today announced the launch of Shelter Animals Count: The National Database Project – a first-of-its-kind platform for the collection and reporting of animal shelter data for organizations across the country.

The database, which can be found at, is focused on promoting the importance of data collection as the organization recruits shelters to participate. As membership increases, the database project will be able to measure progress across the animal welfare space on a national level, inspire life-saving collaboration and increased public engagement, and have a positive impact on pet homelessness in the future.

"This database is precisely what the animal welfare world needs to guide good decision making and help enable a greater understanding of the issues facing shelters in this country," said Jodi Lytle Buckman, board of directors chair for Shelter Animals Count. "While significant progress has been made, we still need accurate and comprehensive nationwide data for our industry. The numbers really do count when it comes to saving lives."

A variety of efforts have been undertaken over the past few decades to create a platform for shelter data reporting, yet no national or centralized system exists for consolidated shelter data until now. In late 2011, several animal welfare organizations convened and began to envision the creation of a national shelter database. In the fall of 2012, a formal governing Board of Directors was established, who then incorporated Shelter Animals Count – an independent non-profit created to bring the national shelter database to life.

Board membership of Shelter Animals Count includes key representation from the following organizations: Animal Assistance Foundation; Animal Humane Society, MN; the ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals); Association of Shelter Veterinarians; Best Friends Animal Society; Humane Society of the Pike's Peak Region; The Humane Society of the United States; Maddie's Fund®; National Animal Care & Control Association; National Council on Pet Population; Petco Foundation; PetSmart Charities; Society of Animal Welfare Administrators; University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine; University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine; and Wisconsin Humane Society.

Once an initial baseline of data has been gathered, Shelter Animals Count will be able to provide comparative reports – including shelter and U.S. Census data through a Tableau® Software interface – by mid-2016. These reports will be viewable and sortable by the public on the Shelter Animals Count website to allow for community comparisons using variables such as population, education and income levels.

About the Shelter Animals Count

Shelter Animals Count is a collaborative initiative formed by a diverse group of stakeholders to create, steward and share a national database of sheltered animal statistics, providing facts and enabling insights that will save lives.

About Maddie's Fund

Maddie's Fund® is a family foundation established in 1994 by Dave and Cheryl Duffield and is the fulfillment of a promise to their inspirational dog, Maddie. She provided them much joy from 1987 – 1997 and continues to inspire them today.

The Foundation has awarded over $275.7 million in grants toward increased community lifesaving, pioneering shelter medicine education and establishing foster care as a standard across the U.S.

Maddie's Fund proudly offers the industry a national voice, important funding opportunities for bold ideas, learning resources and access to collaborate and share innovative solutions. The Foundation invests its resources in a commitment to keeping pets and people together, creating a safety net of care for animals in need and operating within a culture of inclusiveness and humility. #ThanksToMaddie.