Our Goal is 100% Participation

Shelter Animals Count was created to give shelters the information they need to streamline their business operations, while at the same time making it possible to get a holistic overview of the animal welfare landscape. By collecting consistent shelter data, and by collaborating with other shelters that are doing the same, our ability to save animals’ lives can be dramatically improved.

By participating as a data contributor, you will have access to an objective, unbiased database of your own and others’ unfiltered shelter statistics, from the local to the national levels. From improving the quality of individual organizations’ grant applications, to helping communities best allocate their resources across multiple shelters or animal services providers, the benefits of being a data contributor, and therefore, a data recipient, are tangible and impactful.

Because Shelter Animals Count consists of animal welfare professionals from diverse backgrounds and interests, united toward a common goal, you can be certain that your participation will be met with respect and support. We are committed to helping sheltering organizations save lives. We envision a world where grant-makers, researchers, and all those with the ability to improve animal welfare will rely on this database as their source for consistent, reliable shelter data.

Shelter and rescue data collected in The National Database by Shelter Animals Count are available to view and interact with through a series of data dashboards. You can view data nationally or locally, by organization type, and even layer in demographic and economic data from the U.S. Census.

Data Access
Access a wealth of helpful information and data on national and local trends

Compare Data
View data from organizations with similar demographics, geography, and other variables

Measure Operations
Measure the impact your best practices have on your organization's intake and outcomes

Intake & Outcome Database

The Intake & Outcome Database was designed to serve as a tool for basic data collection. It is a simple database containing what many (including Asilomar, ASPCA, National Federation of Humane Societies, American Humane, UC Davis, Maddie’s Fund, PetSmart Charities, HSUS, and Shelter Animals Count) have agreed are the minimum data points (along with definitions) an organization should gather.


This database gathers data for multiple species, live intakes, live outcomes, other/non-live outcomes, and animal counts.

Community Services Database

Shelter Animals Count began collecting community services data in 2021 to capture the most common ways organizations are supporting pets and people in our communities. Services are collected in four categories, Support Services, Field Services, Veterinary Services, and Behavior Services.

This is the first database to allow both animal sheltering and non-sheltering organizations, as well as human services organizations, to count animal services in a central database.


Organization FAQs

  • 01. What data will we be required to share?
    You will be providing monthly summary data to The National Database using the Basic Data Matrix. This includes information the species you manage, broken out by age category, intake and outcome information, and facility-specific data. Shelter Animals Count provides the specific definitions for each category and data point, eliminating ambiguity and ensuring consistency if data is rolled up beyond the local level. When you first register, we ask you provide monthly data beginning with the previous month. You are also able to enter historical data as far back as 2011, if you have that data available. The Basic Data Matrix is intentionally basic in its effort to provide a common framework for data collection whether organizations already gather a great deal of data or have only gathered the basics. Shelter Animals Count is exploring additional data collection means that would further benefit the animal welfare community.
  • 02. Why should my shelter participate?

    This lifesaving effort depends on all of us – your data has the power to help not just the animals in your care, but animals everywhere! In addition to helping you better understand the ins and outs of your sheltering operations, the national database provides the opportunity to view data from similar organizations with similar community demographics, climate, geography, and other variables that impact the work we do.

    Shelter Animals Count provides you with a wealth of information on national trends that may affect your organization, improves visibility and reporting options for grant applications, fundraising and coalition-building efforts, and opens the door to a world where we’re all working better – and smarter – together. But we can’t do it without you!

  • 03. What are the terms of participation?

    Click here to see the Participant Agreement.

  • 04. Do we record TNR data?

    Yes! In 2021 we released our Community Services Matrix (CSM), which collects service-based data. Animals counted in the CSM are owned by the community, or have owners in the community. Animals recorded in the CSM are not shelter intakes.

  • 05. What does Shelter Animals Count do with the data?

    The national database is intended to be a tool for you and your community at the local level to understand the trends, opportunities, and challenges you face, and to help create a picture of how those evolve to the regional and national levels.

    Shelter Animals Count is comprised of animal welfare professionals like you, many of whom have lengthy backgrounds or active relationships with major animal welfare organizations across the country. We’ve come together to promote an open, fact-based, and respectful national data collection effort.

    By providing comprehensive, collaboratively-sourced data, we enable a greater understanding of the state of animal welfare and how we can all increase our positive impact for the animals we are privileged to serve.

  • 06. Who will this data be shared with?

    The national database will have the capability to share public data through its website, and may also release the data in a file export upon request. While we strongly encourage participating shelters to be transparent in agreeing to make their data public, we will enable those contributing data to opt out from their data being identifiable, if requested.

    In addition, many of the organizations that currently collect data from shelters, rescues, and other institutions for grant and community reporting purposes (such as PetSmart Charities, Best Friends Animal Society, the ASPCA, and more) may elect, in the future, to use Shelter Animals Count as a means for submitting data, potentially reducing your reporting burden dramatically.

  • 07. How is this different from past efforts such as Asilomar, Naked Data, etc.? Why should I adopt this version of data reporting?

    As data and reporting efforts have evolved in the field, many of the national groups involved with data collection understood that it was time to reconvene and reach a broad agreement on what kind of data is most useful to collect and how we can best capture the lifesaving data resident in our communities.

    Based on existing data reporting structures, such as those that came out of the Asilomar Accords, and incorporating what we’ve learned through the reporting efforts of animal welfare organizations and funders, Shelter Animals Count has gained consensus and commitment to a standard set of statistics that could be captured in every community with relative speed and ease. We know you’re busy, and we’re here to help make meaningful data collection easier so you can get back to the business of saving lives!

  • 08. Is there any risk with sharing this data?

    Whether or not your data is already shared publicly, you’ve likely considered the pros and cons of doing so. With transparency comes the reality that your stakeholders may ask questions to gain a better understanding of the challenges and decisions your organization faces, or worse, make assumptions that may not be based in fact – and this can and does happen, whether or not your data is currently being published.

    And while sharing data may lead to a few potentially difficult conversations or misunderstandings about why your organization makes certain decisions or operates in a certain way, it also gives you open access to clear, concrete data that you can use help dispel myths or rumors, and pave the way for honest dialogue, enabling you to build trust within your community and rally supporters to your cause.