Last week, our friends over at No Kill West Georgia wrote about a new report compiled by the Georgia voters for Animal Welfare Report. The full overview is over at their place, and worth the read.
The study was designed to really get a baseline handle on how many companion animals were killed in Georgia so they could get a baseline read on a) how big of a problem they have in shelter killing in Georgia and b) give them a baseline in order to track their success.
The study itself entailed a lot of work, and their methodology is fully covered in the report.
Meanwhile, the idea of this report shows a larger problem that I feel like needs to be addressed -- credible information and its availability to citizens.
As a part of my blog, I am routinely asking cities for animal control information -- bite stats, bite stats by breed, euthanasia stats (by species and breed), financial information and the like. And I never cease to be amazed that even when I mention state Freedom of Information requests or Sunshine Laws, that many cities still ignore the requests, or have non-existant or incomplete information.
If we are to ever make a major impact on animal control and shelters, we must demand that not only do our shelters and animal controls keep accurate information, but also make that information easily available to the public (heck, why not post it on your website?) so the public can take an active role in helping improve the situation. If as a shelter you are indeed doing things the right way, it is a great way to get the public involved in helping and sharing in your success. Many animal control departments that are making major progress are making their numbers available - -like in Charlottesville, VA and in Reno, NV.
Maddies Fund director Rich Avanzino has a great article on Why Transperency Matters that highlights why, if we really want to reach No Kill, and improve animal control, we need to be open and honest with our information so we can all see our collective successes and failures.
So nice work by the Georgia Voters for Animal Welfare -- and may they begin to make inroads in saving the lives of animals in Georgia.