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New Year, New Shelter Animals Count

A note from our Executive Director

2021 proved to be another challenging year in animal welfare, but once again, animal welfare professionals proved to be resilient. The data shows that this resiliency led to a continued benefit for animals and their families in our communities.

Last year was also challenging for Shelter Animals Count (SAC) with a change in leadership and a challenging technology conversion. When I joined SAC in August of last year after over a decade-long career working in a high-volume shelter, I was excited to be able to engage with my peers from across the country to work together to use data to save more lives. That excitement continues as we look forward to 2022 and accomplish the goals we have planned for this year…and beyond!

Last fall we finalized a partnership with Kinship to serve as the premier technology provider for SAC, providing web and dashboard development, user experience upgrades and tech support services. They began development and rolling out site improvements at the end of the year and are releasing new updates every 2 weeks. As you continue reading, you’ll find highlights of some recent releases and we will continue to include future improvements in our monthly newsletter.

Also last fall, we formed a Data & Technology Committee comprised of over 30 experts in data science, shelter software and shelter leadership. This committee serves as advisors and volunteers as we continue to improve SAC data collection and reporting. In addition to our Board of Directors, this committee serves as an extension of the SAC team to help accomplish really big goals ahead.

Speaking of big goals, here’s a highlight of just a few of the things you can expect from SAC this year:
  • A new Director of Data & Technology will join our team in a couple weeks (stay tuned for the official announcement!)
  • API integration that will automatically pull your data from your shelter software into the SAC database
  • Improved, expanded, and reimagined interactive dashboards on both the public-facing version of our site and within your organization's portal
  • Increased reporting on trends in animal welfare with tips on how you can use this data in your communities and organization
  • Release of Phase 2 of the Community Services Matrix (PDF)
  • Restored functionality and reporting for Coalition users
  • And, so much more!
2021 was a challenging year for SAC, but we are resilient and excited about what's to come in 2022! There has never been a better time to engage with SAC – you won’t want to miss what’s ahead!


Stephanie Filer, Executive Director

Exciting News: 2021 Data is Now Available

We are thrilled to share that our data dashboards are now updated through December 2021! We have added filters so you can compare full/partial data sets, multiple years, species, and also search data by state, community, organization type and organization name.
  • In the Summary Timeline chart, when you hover over the months at the bottom of the chart, a + and - will appear that will allow you to modify the timeline.
  • The yellow light bulb in the top right corner provides additional information about the data and organizations.
This updated Tableau dashboard can be viewed here, but this data is not yet reflected on our website dashboards.

Recent Updates

  • An update has been made to the database to correct the bug that was showing complete data (pre-March 2021 data) as "incomplete" in the Animal Data Records box. This issue was occurring due to new fields that were added to the database. The system was viewing these fields as blank, therefore flagging the complete data as "incomplete".
Coalition Users
  • Additional filter options have been added to your dashboard to sort by region type, state, and organization type.
  • When viewing your Data Status table, you may now select data from years 2011-2022.

We've Heard You!

Your feedback is important and we are listening. Here are just a few of the items we're working on:
  • Entering "0"s: Currently, you must insert a numeric value for all fields in order for the data to be considered "complete". We are working to have "0"s auto populated in the empty fields so you will no longer have to enter a "0" where you do not have data.
  • PDF Reports: Previously, users could export a PDF that included data subtotals and totals. We are working on a similar but improved PDF report that can be generated from the dashboard. These will be great to use for Board Reports, city council meetings, shelter operations and more!
  • Dashboards: Currently, the dashboards are structured to show summarized data for intakes and outcomes. We're planning to expand this available data to include detailed fields such as adoptions, stray intakes, etc. In addition, the overviews on your home screen only allow you to view year-to-date data, and we're working to add previous years.
If you have additional feedback and suggestions, please share it with us for consideration while we make improvements. Additionally, if you would like to provide feedback about upcoming updates prior to launch, please indicate your interest in question #9.

Did you know there are two ways to enter data?

1. CSV Upload | Download CSV Template
If your organization utilizes shelter software you can export a report (instructions here) specifically formatted for the SAC database or you can enter data directly into the CSV file and upload. The CSV option allows you to enter multiple years, months and species of data at a time. In your account, navigate to "Data" then "CSV Upload" to import your data.

2. Manual Data Entry
In your account, navigate to "Data" then "Manually". In the details box, "Animal Types" should list every species you are entering data for, click "Edit" to add/remove species. Edit each section to input your data.

Note: For now, with both forms of data entry, all fields must have a numeric value, even if you don't have data for a field, it still needs a "0". We're working on an update so the system will auto populate these blank fields with a "0", this update is set to launch in March.

Jan McHugh-Smith, CAWA

Jan has served on the SAC Board since 2014 and most recently served as the Board Chair, ending her term at the end of 2021, and now serving as Past Chair. Jan has been in animal welfare for nearly 40 years and is the CEO of the Humane Society of Boulder Valley. We thank Jan for her many years of service to SAC!

Michael Keiley

We would like to welcome Michael as the SAC Board Chair for 2022. Mike Keiley is the Director of Adoption Centers for MSPCA-Angell and has been with the organization since 1994. He also serves as a regional representative for The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement.
The Association for Animal Welfare of Advancement (12/20/21)
"Don’t know what you’re going to use all your shelter data for? That’s completely okay. Collect now, assess later." And if you haven’t been consistent in entering data, or if the ball got dropped due to, say, staff turnover, it’s never too late to get back up to date or enter historical data. “Longer-term data is so important,” shares Stephanie Filer of Shelter Animals Count.
Copyright © 2022 Shelter Animals Count, All rights reserved.

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