Philadelphia Surpasses LAAS in Two Years

Back when I was a Boks “spokesperson,” whenever I discovered what appeared to be a successful No-Kill shelter, both Boks and the Mayor’s office pooh-poohed that success, either by implying the shelter was falsifying numbers, or that the shelter system, such as Winograd’s Tompkin’s County shelter, was so small that his techniques would never work in LA. Tompkins, Charlottesville and other No-Kill shelters were sarcastically referred to as “boutique” shelters.

On February 7 of this year, Winograd sent me an email stating Philadelphia had gone from 88% kill to a 65% save rate in a little over two years. If true, this would be unimaginable success in such a short time. But no confirming stats from Philly were available at the time. I talked to Philly’s director, Tara Derby-Perrin, who told me in February that the cats were flying out the door and few neonates were dying because of a large cadre of volunteer fosters (200 active).

Well, I just got the Philly stats off of their website. If true, they destroy Boks’ excuse that large shelter systems do not improve quickly. Philly is still impounding about 30,000 cats and dogs a year, or 2/3 the number as LA. Their budget is not 2/3 of LAAS’s $25,000,000, nor did they have 2/3 of LAAS’ 400 employees. I forget what she told me, but it was a small fraction to LAAS’ budget, just as is SFACC. The Philly budget is $3,200,000 with 50 FTE employees, or 1/8th LAAS budget and employees. However, they have 250 active volunteers, or 5 for every full-time employee.

This is a very important point. Boks and his apologists say that the other shelters handle so few animals compared to LAAS that any success anywhere in country is irrelevant to LAAS situation. BUT, LAAS has vastly greater resources in comparison.

This blog will not allow me to post tables and there are a lot of stats here. So go to this site and do your own analysis.

The gist is that they (Winograd and auditors) found out the previous shelter managers had lied about the number of adoptions, RTO and other saves they had claimed in 2004, and that while the shelter claimed a 27% save rate, it most probably was about an 11% save rate for cats and dogs combined.

Winograd began consulting in early 2005 sometime.

At the end of 2005, the combined save rate was 39%, 280% improvement!

At the end of 2006, the save rate was 47%, a 360% improvement over 2004.

The 1st quarter stats for Philly just came out. The the first quarter would have the best results because it is the slowest quarter. Still, the combined save rate is 66%--61% for dogs, 70% for cats.

If these figures are true, Philly went from being far worse than LAAS in 2004, to well surpassing LAAS in about 2 years. Though LAAS has the same save rate for dogs, it has a far worse save rate for cats.

But, as we know from our experience with Boks, statistics don’t mean much without having very detailed and complete statistics and an independent reviewer. I will let you know what I find.

Boks floated his excuse for no improvement, that LA was already “so close to no-kill,” that all the easy successes were accomplished before he came, and that now was the time for the “heavy lifting.”

Has anyone asked him—or the Mayor’s Office—why did all the easy successes stop the day he started?

Did I forget to mention? Both the Philadelphia and Charlottesville shelters are run by women.

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