In August 2004, a group of animal welfare industry leaders from across the nation met at the Asilomar Convention Center in Pacific Grove, California. Their purpose was to build bridges across varying philosophies among those involved in animal welfare, to develop relationships and create goals focused on significantly reducing the euthanasia of healthy and treatable companion animals in the U.S.
A common vision for the future was adopted – the Asilomar Accords. The Accords set forth guiding principles for animal welfare organizations to work together to save the lives of all healthy and treatable companion animals. The document aims to cut through the rhetoric of 'no kill' vs. 'open admission' shelters and to dispel the murkiness of what defines adoptable animals. To achieve this, there is a national effort for all organizations that shelter animals to utilize the same statistical record keeping. Having standard language that all shelters can use will help us to compare the work that we do at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley with other shelters here locally and nationally as well.
For the past several years, we have collected and reported our statistics according to a nationally recognized formula, the Asilomar Accords. Aimed at providing a consistent and transparent way of understanding the outcomes of the animals coming through our front doors, we measure our success through the number and percentage of lives saved. The live release rate represents the percentage of animals who leave our building alive through reunification if they are lost or stray or through adoption into a new home. In 2011, we achieved a 93% live release rate.
Working with the Metro Denver Shelter Alliance, we track the statistics of more than 20 animal welfare agencies in our area. Through the Alliance, we look for trends and emerging needs so collaboratively we can identify ways to save more animals' lives.