Despite many animal shelters being funded by our tax dollars, most people don’t know what is happening at their local shelter. Very few states require animal shelters to register or obtain licenses to operate, and even fewer require robust data-keeping and reporting.

Because there is so little transparency and accountability, it is difficult for advocates to ask for change. We know that millions of cats are killed in shelters every year. Specific data would help policymakers see what is happening and help taxpayers understand how much of their money is being used to kill cats.

Once you know more about the problem, it’s easier to talk about solutions. Transparency also helps shelters increase adoptions, attract volunteers, and rally the support of the community. People want to support a shelter they believe is working hard to save lives.

Alley Cat Allies works with shelters to improve their record-keeping and show the benefits of implementing Trap-Neuter-Return. Alley Cat Allies also supports state legislation that requires animal shelters to obtain licenses and keep thorough data.

Do you know what is happening in your local shelter? Use our Guide to Obtaining Animal Shelter Records to submit a public records request to your shelter and see what records they have available.