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  • Writer's pictureSusan Houser

Keeping Track of No Kill

In just the last year there has been an enormous increase in communities that are reporting saving 90% or more of their animals, and an even bigger increase in communities reporting 80% or more. Because there are so many communities to report on, I no longer have enough time to do the amount of research needed for my traditional listings. So I have to make a choice — either do as many listings as I can the way I’ve always done them (which would mean most 90%+ and 80%+ communities don’t get listed at all), or change to a new method where I list all reported communities but the listings are not researched in-depth (which would mean that I make listings based on shelter press releases and media reports without independently verifying them and without researching things like shelter policies, other organizations in the community, local controversies, etc.).

I’ve decided to go with the second option, because what my readers want is to know about all communities that are doing well, not just a fraction of them. The downsides are that there will be less information in each listing, and that listings will be based on media reports which may not always be correct. I think the number of bad listings will be pretty small, and I will take them down when I find out about them, but there probably will be an occasional one.

The way I’m going to implement this is to list in the right sidebar every community that I feature, lumping together 90% Documented, 90% Reported, and Worth Watching. New listings may be full-length features as they are now or shorter posts, depending on how much information the shelter has made available. The right sidebar will be called Notable Communities.

Each post will have a notice stating whether it is 90%+, 80%+ or Worth Watching, but the posts will not be separated by those subcategories in the right sidebar. At some point soon I may need to save space in the right sidebar by listing only the most prominent community in a group of communities. For example, listing Williamson County, Texas, and not Round Rock.

I will not be able to update listings yearly as I have been doing. That means that people will have to be careful in using the listings on individual communities and may have to do some of their own research to get the latest numbers.

As for the Running Totals, my plan is to delete the current count, which is based on number of communities, and go to a count based on human population living in 90%+ and 80%+ communities. I’m going to do a spreadsheet where I will list each 90%+ community and each 80%+ community and its population and post those totals as separate Running Totals. Again, these numbers are going to be subject to the caveat that I will not have checked each community as closely as I used to.

In other developments, the News Bits page has become the blog’s most popular feature. I have plans to migrate News Bits over to Facebook eventually, but it may be a while until I get around to that. In the meantime, when a News Bit involves a newly announced 80% or 90% community, I may post it as a blog as well as a News Bit, so that I can link to it in the right sidebar.

So over the next month or two the blog may look like a construction zone, and it might even blow up a few times, but hopefully we will come out of it with a better idea of just how successful No Kill really is.


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