Oct 27, 2020
Both before the COVID Crisis, and especially after, Pethealth was asked to share data on the number of animals entering and leaving shelters altered (spayed or neutered). We have finally been able to produce that data and share it with you. For this blog, we will look at the first 9 months of 2020 and compare those to 2019. We also think it is important to break out species (dog/cat) and age (under/over 5 months) while also covering the key intake and outcome types.
For dogs, 26.4% (14.4% for puppy and 30.1% for adult) entered shelters altered for the first 9 months of the year. It barely moved from the same period in 2019, which was26.2% (14.3% for puppy and 30.8% for adult). Looking at the data based on core intake types:
- Owner Surrender increased from 26.6% in 2019 to 27.6% in 2020
- Stray decreased from 13.7% in 2019 to 13.1% in 2020
- Transfer In was generally the same with 34.3% in 2019 and 34.4% in 2020
For cats, 23.8% (10.3% for kitten and 36.6% for adult) entered shelters altered for the first 9 months of the year. And similarly to the dog population, the rate barely moved from the same period in 2019, which was 24.5% (10.8% for kitten and 36.5% for adult). Looking at the data by the core intake types:
- Owner Surrender decreased from 28% in 2019 to 25.8% in 2020
- Stray increased from 10.1% in 2019 to 11% in 2020
- Transfer In increased from 36.5% in 2019 and 37.2% in 2020
For dogs, 58.8% (57.6% for puppy and 59.3% for adult) with live outcomes were altered in the first 9 months of the year. The rate dropped from 2019, which was 60.3% (60.1% for puppy and 60.4% for adult). Looking at the data by the core outcome types:
- Adoptions stayed the same at 77.5% in 2019 and 77.1% in 2020
- RTO decreased from 32.6% to 29.5%
- Transfer Out decreased from 28.6% in 2019 to 26.7% in 2020
For cats, 72.3% (65.8% for kitten and 78.1% for adult) with live outcomes were altered in the first 9 months of the year. The rate dropped slightly from 2019, which was 73.5% (68% for kitten and 77.6% for adult). Looking at the data by the core outcome types:
- Adoptions decreased from 82.2% in 2019 to 81.8% in 2020
- RTO decreased from 48.1% to 45%
- Transfer Out increased from 35.8% in 2019 to 36.3% in 2020
The chart below shows the trending for this year. As you can see, kitten has a seasonal effect but generally dog, cat, and puppy have remained consistent. Also, what this data tells us that the crisis to date, has not showed a significant impact on the altered state of animals entering shelters.
It will be important to keep an eye on populations to see if the pattern continues or if the impact is simply yet to be seen. It is important to note that this data is specifically for sheltered animals. Many organizations run public clinics – these were likely that impacted by closures - that information is not represented in that dataset.
Many folks would have expected the live outcome percent to be significantly greater but we can see that while the adoption rate is relatively good, most RTOs and Transfers are unaltered animals. What I found surprising was the fact that the percent altered was higher for cats versus dogs. I'm curious to why this is the case, I would love to hear from others on their analysis of the data.
Next year, our plan will be to add this data to our monthly reports so that as an industry we can continue to track our progress.