Friday, April 24, 2009

Rescue Numbers - Update 3

On February 17, 2009 I posted the last Rescue Numbers Update. I'll try to always re-iterate that I'm not posting this to depress anyone, but I believe that people should all be aware of the sheer numbers we face out there. As long as people spay and neuter their pets as well as continue to adopt animals from shelters than we're making progress.

StormsLegacy posted a comment in the last Rescue Update stating that the numbers I am pulling from Petfinder are not really an accurate way to measure this progression of adoption. I asked what a better way to measure it would be, but never did get a response. In fact, I didn't hear from StormsLegacy again.

If anyone has a better way to track this, please feel free to let me know. I don't have an issue changing my methods, but please offer an alternative, not just criticism (back up your argument!). Otherwise, the Petfinder numbers are better than nothing, right?

Here are the numbers from that day in February:
American Staffordshire Terrier 3,427
Australian Cattle Dog/Blue Heeler 3,016
Australian Shepherd 3,319
Beagle - 7,253
Black Lab - 4,606
Border Collie - 4,601
Boxer - 5,960
Chihuahua - 6,846
Dachshund - 3,481
German Shepherd Dog - 7,099
Labrador Retriever - 19,162
Pitbull Terrier - 10,968
Rottweiler 3,606
Shepherd 8,235
Terrier 6,662

Anything over 3,000 I have listed.

Here are the numbers for today:
American Staffordshire Terrier 3,681
Australian Cattle Dog/Blue Heeler 3,161
Australian Shepherd 3,443
Beagle - 7,647
Black Lab - 4,624
Border Collie - 4,616
Boxer - 6,124
Chihuahua - 7,552
Dachshund - 3,671
German Shepherd Dog - 7,462
Labrador Retriever - 19,990
Pitbull Terrier - 11,420
Rottweiler 3,568
Shepherd 8,596
Terrier 7,151

Petfinder has a total number of 187,543 dogs available counting all the different breeds listed, not only the ones I mentioned.

Our running tally of these breeds in December was 101,559.
In February our running tally was 98,241 ... That's 3,318 less dogs from Dec to Feb.
Our tally this month is 102,706. In two months, the amount of dogs in rescue has increased by 4,465.

That's unfortunate. The numbers are going way up ... not down. Perhaps a sign of the time of year? Or perhaps a sign of the economic times? Hard to say. Remember, those are only the ones listed on petfinder. There are many more that aren't listed. And the numbers increase with every BYBer, Puppy Mill and Irresponsible Owner who won't spay/neuter.

As long as people are out there volunteering, fostering or working for rescues and as long as there are others adopting then we havn't lost the fight.

The more people that spay and neuter their household pets, the better. Stop the Downpour is Ontario's campaign ... what's the campaign called in your local region? Does your area have one?


Cyndi and Stumpy said...

Anyone who knows anything about statistics knows they are just that: numbers...still they give us a basic understanding and somewhat of a tangible grasp of something that is totally overwhelming.

those numbers are staffering and mindboggling.

mytwh said...

This is so depressing. I know you didn't post it to bedepressing, but it is all the same. To see the numbers increase that dramatically...WOW.

But you're right "As long as people are out there volunteering, fostering or working for rescues and as long as there are others adopting then we havn't lost the fight."

God, I wish I could do more. I wish instead of the one I adopted last week I could take 2 or 3 or more. Thanks so much for all you do DDF. At least there are people out there that care. I've learned so much from you in the short time I've been following your blog and appreciate your commitment to animals. You inspire me!

GoLightly said...

"He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts, for support, rather than illumination."
Andrew Lang (1844-1912)
(credit kestrel for supplying the quote.)

The numbers don't lie. Some people have a hard time believing the bad news.

What saddens me is how many ACD's are there. Such great, but very challenging dogs!
Not for novice owners!!
Oh, hell, few dogs are ideal for novice owners..

I harangued my BYB neighbour, DDF. Does that count?
I NeveR harangue! I was polite, but TersE.
I blame you:)
Harbinger of harangues:)


OldMorgans said...

Before Petfinder, there was no way to track what was up for adoption. Before Petfinder, it was more difficult to find one to adopt.

But seeing the numbers going up is depressing. Seeing just how many there are available is depressing. And the breeders keep breeding.

On the positive side, it looks like my neighbor finally speutered his dogs. I haven't seen any puppies for nearly a year now.

We have to measure progress in small steps.

Calsidyrose said...

One contribution to the uptick could be a shift in users--perhaps more Shelters and rescues have developed on-line programs and are now using Petfinder. As more and more groups/shelters get web-savvy, the numbers will go up.

Our Shelter uses "Pet Harbor," which I hate because it feels clunky and doesn't offer much. If I ran the world, our Shelter would switch over to Petfinder.

Unknown said...

Sorry for not recommenting! I visit your blog only periodically and answered quickly while I was at work! I'm busy most times and don't get an often chance to check blogs ^_^ i forgot to turn on comment notification!

I'm not sure how to get a better estimate, but my experience is that much of the dogs listed on petfinder are misclassified.

I wonder if it's possible to do a search for purebreds? That may give a better estimate. Breed rescues may also have a good idea.

On a different note, I've recently come up with another reason that seems to be more effective in convincing people to spay their dern dog: going on about pyometra. nothing like a pus-filled uterus costing 750 or more to remove to make people rethink not spaying. Ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

DogsDeserveFreedom said...

GSC - You're right, they are just numbers. And I agree that they are still a way to understand what is going on in the rescue world. I think any statistics and numbers can be fuddled - doesn't matter what they're for.

mytwh - I almost choked on my coffee when I saw the numbers were up so much higher.

Remember though, that there is a normal ebb and flow of dogs going in and out of rescues throughout the year. At certain times the number of dogs in rescue always increases and then at different times, it decreases (example - it decreases in November/December but then increases in January/February).

It is good to note when it ebbs and flows because we can use this knowledge for other things. For example, I know that if I were only able to foster for 3 months out of the year, I would foster during those times when the shelters are over-run with dogs because I know that my help is most needed then (I foster year-round, but if I couldn't then I would manage my time this way).

GoLightly - that's a nice quote. People like to live in ignorance ... it's easier to make the decision to get what you want when you don't know what's going on in the world around you. I often think of the comment that "ignorance is bliss" and I understand this more and more as every day goes by.

One of the dogs I grew up with was an ACD/BC mix. You're right - they are a handful if you compare to some of the more "laid-back" breeds. It doesn't surprise me that these guys are so high - same with BCs - so many people don't know how to properly train them.

Keep working on your neighbour - maybe they'll catch on one of these days?

OldMorgans - that's great news! You're right, the small victories are so very important. We may not be able to change the entire world ourselves, but each of us can change our own corner of the world. The more of us that change our corners, the better it will be, right?

Calsidyrose - it is possible that there are more shelters registered with petfinder. I think that there are more surrenders and dumpings this year than most though. I've never used Pet Harbour - is it a local service?

StormsLegacy - Oh good! I was rather worried that you had decided to stop reading after that since I hadn't heard from you! I know how it is when you're reading at work - I do the same. I believe the petfinder database counts the dogs twice if they are listed as two different breeds - so we should take that into account as well. I wish I could find something better to track the numbers ...

You're right - pyometra is a good way to convince people to spay their pets. When I was working at the vet clinic, I found that he used that for people who would refuse to spay / neuter as well as explaining testicular cancer. The explanation of testicular cancer can be quite convincing to those owners who don't want to "de-man" their dogs (not to mention that he used to tell people about the excruciating pain they will go through if they get TC).