Winograd's 111 Page 2005 Analysis of the Philly Shelter--AMMENDED

Winograd posted this on his blog. It is his 111 page analysis and recommendations of the Philly shelter system. This is what he says Philly failed to implement.

I have not carefully read it, but it appear to an an incredibly thorough and detailed operations analysis. I am impressed.

Take a close look at pages 29-32, t tells how you can cheat on euthanasia, impound and adoption numbers with password access to the tracking software.

Also, here are the 2006 and 2007 statistics for the combined Washoe County/Nevada Humane Society. Bonnie Brown is Nathan's protoge and head of the Nevada Humane side of the muni/private operation.

I have not figured them out yet and I'll let you know when I do.


Anonymous said...

Winograd makes everyone his fall guy, his scapegoat. Instead of trying to improve his program with this info, he uses it to condemn instead. And the numbers from Nevada, who will believe them now? Besides that is just a report done on Excel by an individual, it is not a state report signed off on by someone in authority. And does Nevada push the dying animals off to rescues and count them as live adoptions? These are things that don't show in the numbers. It is a paper game, let's see how long this game lasts.

Anonymous said...

I've read about 40 pages of the PACCA Assessment and so far it all seems very reasonable and credible to me.

It's also interesting, and if you work at a shelter, either as an employee or a volunteer, it provides good insights into best practices.

Frankly, I feel pretty good about my shelter...

Anonymous said...

Okay, I've finished it. Seems very reasonable in its assessment of a city shelter, and I can certainly see parallels with certains aspects of LAAS, particularly in the volunteer area, which I've experienced.

None of it seems out-of-line with the principles outlined in Winograd's book "Redemption", which I read about a month ago. As such, it can't have been too much of a surprise to officials in Philadelphis if they were familiar with Winograd's positions.

I'm not sure how this relates to Winograd's subsequent disavowal of PACCA, because it doesn't cover what they did and apparently are no longer doing to achieve no-kill. But nothing in this initial assessment seems unreasonable or implausible.

Anonymous said...

I just read this in the report. Nathan can see the problems in a shelter. He just can't find a solution that works in the real world with real people. The current chameleon software has a weakness. If you have a user name and password, you can do whatever you like in there. I have a feeling Boks did this. As soon as he got control of the system's password, things improved dramatically.

"In addition, many other communities who use “top of the line” commercial shelter software, such
as Chameleon, have similar problems due to user laxity and error.)

The lack of integrity in the system is the result of full access by all employees, regardless of
whether they have a legitimate need to do so. Animals can be stolen by employees (a recurring
concern at PACCA evidenced by recent disciplinary action against several employees for
allegedly stealing animals), and there was near unanimous concern by rescue personnel and
PACCA leadership about this issue. The system could be password protected, and the program
security enabled to prevent any deletion of records without a password that only the Executive
Director should have, providing a permanent audit trail for animals.

Moreover, the failure of a match between impounded animals and animals on the Lost list is not a
deficiency of the system. This is a common complaint nationally even with high-end shelter
software solutions such as Chameleon. The reason for missed matches is user-caused. For
example, if an owner reports a lost dog, such as a Lhaso Apso, and someone finds the dog and
reports it as a Terrier, there would be no match. This can be prevented by standardizing entries
and putting in place a protocol to search from general criteria to specific as discussed in Section
4.6 (Lost & Found) below.

In addition, many animals get lost or lose adoption opportunities because employees do not
update records in a timely manner and have no incentive or managerial oversight that would
require them to do so. I witnessed an employee reading the newspaper while occasionally
imputing new records, despite a supervisor sitting not five feet from her desk.


! Password protect the computer system.
! Reprogram to prevent altering or deletion of records without password authority.
! Limit access to computers to key individuals so that if records are generated or
deleted, an audit trail can be created as to who altered the system.
! Research software programs available on the market.
! Computer records should be backed-up daily.

Anonymous said...

"The current chameleon software has a weakness. If you have a user name and password, you can do whatever you like in there."

Your last poster doesn't know LAAS Chameleon; just having a password does not allow an employee to change anything that has been entered. To delete an animal or change a disposition, you have to call an administrator (actually there is only one for employees to call). This was set up long before Boks got there. Of course he might be an administrator and be able to change anything he wants, who knows.

Anonymous said...

This is how it works. Employees input animals. Shelter managers check the data daily. If there are errors, they call the admin office to change. Now they could call admin and say an animal inputed wsan't real. It was just a test, please delete it. Or they could say it was adopted when it wasn't.

Napa used to be in charge of doing this. Boks demanded the password from her. She said no. He had Barth go to IT and demand the password. Now Boks has control of the numbers. He can delete animals, list them as adopted.

In NY the audit showed missing adoption records. Boks said the paper documents just got destroyed. This means he lied. Adoptions weren't as high as he said. Boks fudges the books

Anonymous said...

Winograd's point re PACCA is that ANY staff member had access to change info in the database, so anyone was able to steal an animal and cover it up.

The problem is different in L.A. Although people on this blog have accused staff of stealing animals I believe what they alleged is that the animal was stolen before s/he was even put into the system, which is absolutely a problem, but not having to do with the database technology.

The problem at LAAS is that there's no way for a department to keep its own General Manager from obtaining the info that allows him to commit database fraud. It's not a weakness of the software that Boks is a criminal. And given the extreme duress he can put people under, I'm incredibly impressed that someone had the integrity and courage to turn him down when he first made a grab for admin privileges.

Maintaining a system's integrity so that data can't be manipulated by the very people whose performance is assessed according to the data is an oversight issue. Since the one who has oversight on Boks is the Mayor,
this is yet another case where the blame rests squarely on Antonio Villaraigosa. Any miniscule attempt at due diligence in background-checking Boks would have turned up his myriad frauds in Maricopa County AND New York. Too bad Villaraigosa's idea of vetting someone is meeting them once through a rich-guy acquaintance. Which shows how little Villaraigosa ever cared about animals or how millions of dollars of L.A.'s budget are spent.