Lawrence Humane Society crunches data for record-breaking adoption rates

Story originally published on 6 News Lawrence’s Website (August 3, 2017)

The Lawrence Humane Society’s executive director, Kate Meghji, says the shelter’s live-save rate has increased over the years—as the euthanasia rate’s steadily decreased.

“I’m sure that this year will be the lowest ever,” she said.

With the Lawrence shelter’s adoption rate now at 92 percent—well above the national average estimated between 50 to 60 percent—Meghji says the secret is in crunching numbers.

“We multiply the number of animals times the number of days and divide that by the number of days in a year to calculate the length of stay.”

Meghji says that “length of stay” number is critical.

“If we can reduce the number of days they’re in the shelter,” she said, “we can reduce our cost, we can help more animals and the animals are less stressed and get adopted more quickly.”

The equation seems to be working: last year the Lawrence Humane Society was able to take in about 600 animals from other shelters in addition to strays and pickups within Lawrence.

And this year the shelter is on pace to top that, as it’s already at 575.

So how do the workers decrease the length of stay?

Meghji promotes foster care, as well as keeping certain pets up in the front of the shelter to encourage quicker adoption.

Dr. Brad Crauer, a veterinarian currently based in Washington state, previously worked with 20 different shelters within Kansas and Nebraska—including the one in Lawrence.

“Lawrence Humane for the region is a model shelter as far as recognizing these metrics and being able to identify them and try to maximize impact,” he said.

Dr. Crauer says factoring in the length of stay makes all the difference, but it’s hard for some shelters to understand.

“Because there’s an obsession with just, how many animals can we hold and we’re so full,” he said.

And while the Humane Society focuses on numbers and data to get pets adopted, executive director, Meghji, says a big part of the push has to do with marketing strategy as well.”

“I get onto the staff all the time because I’m like, ‘I don’t want two black dogs next to each other, I don’t want two dogs that look alike or two cats,’ so we make sure that we place them in a way that you see a diverse population,” she said.

Shorter shelter stays for animals equals higher adoption rates. Meaning in this case, less really does equal more.

Recent Posts