By utilizing a standard language for their statistics, shelters and their supporters are able to easily and clearly track progress both at a specific shelter and across shelters nationwide. The document aims to cut through the rhetoric of "no kill" vs. "limited admission" vs. "open admission" shelters and to dispel the murkiness of what defines an adoptable animal.
The Asilomar Accords outline principles that guide animal welfare organizations to work together to save the lives of all healthy and treatable companion animals. The animal sheltering world hasn't always been clear or consistent when it comes to reporting results. Without the Asilomar Accords, definitions and reporting methods varied from group to group, making understanding of information difficult, if not impossible, across organizations.
Euthanasia statistics are represented in four categories: healthy, treatable/rehabilitative, treatable/manageable, and unhealthy/untreatable. Definitions of these categories are available at www.asilomaraccords.org/definitions.html. These clear definitions allow our community to understand the euthanasia statistics for their local animal welfare organizations without the confusion of unclear or unethical reporting.
The Live Release Rate is perhaps the most compelling of the statistics. The Live Release Rate reveals the percentage of animals that leave the shelter alive regardless of their health or behavior status. This measurement eliminates any subjective definition of the word "adoptable".
Beginning in 2006, SVACA, SJACS and HSSV agreed to share statistical animal information and to standardize definitions. In 2008, SVACA, SJACS and HSSV deepened that effort to include standards for euthanasia classifications.
Using these survey results, the alliance crafted its Pet Evaluation Matrix (PEM). By January 2011, all alliance shelters were using the same PEM to assess and classify incoming and outgoing animals. It is important to note that our alliance does not allow this PEM to dictate whether an individual animal should or will be treated for a specific condition.